TUCSON, Ariz. -- One year after knocking out BYU center Bret Jepsen with a vicious elbow during a game in Provo, Arizona forward Eugene Edgerson says he wasn't the only one who played dirty that night.
Edgerson remembers Jepsen throwing around his elbows under the basket throughout the game."There were a couple of incidences, and I told the officials to call a foul," he explained. "I took the law into my own hands. It wasn't the right thing to do. But no one's going to walk all over Eugene Edgerson.
"If (Jepsen) can dish it out, he should be able to take it. I felt at the time he was trying to take me out. It was either him or me. Unfortunately, he was the one taken out."
The 6-foot-6 forward did not play Wednesday night against the Cougars because he is redshirting this season. Edgerson is student-teaching a kindergarten class and is sitting out of basketball in order to reach his goal of graduating in four years. He plans to go to graduate school and resume his career next season.
Edgerson, who sports a big afro (which, he says, represents his old-school approach to the game), sat on the Wildcat bench wearing street clothes.
Meanwhile, Jepsen has retired from college basketball. Last month, the 6-11 senior quit the BYU team because he suffers from recurring headaches both he and team doctors say are a result of Edgerson's elbow.
In the second half of that Nov. 28 game, which Arizona eventually won 78-74 in overtime, Edgerson intentionally struck Jepsen just below his right eye as the two players were running downcourt. Jepsen fell to the floor and was unconscious for about 20 seconds. He suffered a second-degree concussion and says he hasn't been the same since.
Edgerson offered a public apology and wrote a letter to Jepsen. Jepsen did not respond.
"I told him I was sorry. What I did was wrong. I never denied that," Edgerson said. "I felt so bad on the plane ride home after the game. It was in the heat of the battle, and I lost my cool. I never thought the guy wouldn't be playing basketball anymore. I regret that. I never intended to hurt him for the rest of his life."
Arizona coach Lute Olson suspended Edgerson after the incident and defends him now. "Anybody who's seen the tape understands that there's a lot more to that than met the eye," Olson said. "It was not something that was initiated by Gene. It was initiated the other way."
Jepsen, who was considered to be a passive player during his career, remembers that the game was physical. But he can't believe anyone would resort to that kind of behavior.
Jepsen is finishing up his business degree and planning to graduate in April. "I'm just trying to put (that incident) behind me," he said.
Edgerson also wants to move on. "It's over with. If people don't like me, that's fine," he said. "One mistake can scar you forever. But this won't scar me. I do so many positive things that will erase that one negative thing.
"I just laugh at people who think I'm a thug," Edgerson continued. "They don't know what I do for my community, for the fans here and my team."