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Boylen Teaches Valuable Lesson

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Give Utah basketball coach Jim Boylen credit.

He acted quickly and decisively in suspending starting point guard Luka Drca for intentionally tripping Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, during last week's 70-52 loss to the Sooners.

Boylen announced his decision Monday, saying, "I feel that suspending him is the only thing to do."

Ya think? Anyone who saw the play, in which Drca kicked Griffin's feet from behind would have to agree.

In suspending Drca for two games, Boylen did the hard thing. The Utes are 5-4, having lost three straight. Suspending your starting guard isn't easy, especially when you're struggling. Boylen could have said it was a debatable occurrence, or that his player got caught up in the moment -- no harm done.

Not only is it right to suspend those who make dirty plays, but it will work to the Utes' favor. Better to teach him a lesson now than learn during the conference season.

This isn't Drca's first offense. He was suspended one game last season by the Mountain West Conference for intentionally elbowing a TCU player in the chest.

Drca needs to practice the difference between physical play and dirty play. Physical play is playing rough. Dirty play is doing things from behind-- undercutting, shoving on the breakaway, tripping -- and/or intentionally trying to harm.

In suspending Drca, Boylen showed he can practice what he preaches. All too often coaches allow players to behave badly with little consequence. In cases where criminal behavior is an issue, they say they'll "let the law take its course."

In other words, they hope it will go away.

Drca certainly didn't break any laws. But he did show poor judgment -- and sportsmanship -- in tripping Griffin. Boylen showed good judgment in reining in his guard.