The Miami Hurricanes basketball team had a tough night Tuesday. But things are looking up and now it appears the 21st-ranked Canes will be at full strength when they travel to Kentucky Saturday.
Thursday morning, the ACC decided it would not take further action against Jack McClinton for his slap of Ohio State guard Anthony Crater, passing on a possible one-game suspension. Then, moments ago, UM sports information director Margaret Belch confirmed point Eddie Rios, who was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday for violating a team rule, will also be back with the team on Saturday.
Miami obviously struggled without both of them against Ohio State. With only one primary ballhandler in Lance Hurdle, UM had a season-high 18 turnovers. McClinton met with the media an hour ago and BankUnited Center and apologized for his actions.
"It definitely was a mistake on my part," said McClinton, who watched his team blow a 14-point lead to Ohio State without him in a 73-68 loss.
"I should have been the bigger person. I know I made a mistake. I just want to apologize to the Miami fans, my teammates and everybody came out to support us or watch us or watch me. I made a wrong decision and I have to learn from it.
"I'm a competitor. That's was definitely not me. I'm passionate about basketball. I love to play basketball and I would never do anything to put myself in jeopardy or my team in jeopardy and it was just a bad reaction on my part. It happens all the time. But you have to stay composed. I think the best ones do that. And you have to stay composed."
UM coach Frank Haith, who was angered when he reviewed the tape that Crater also did not face some sort of penalty from the refs, supported his star guard.
"It's very uncharacteristic of Jack," Haith said. "I know Jack feels really bad about what happened. Jack has handled it with his teammates, he knows his actions hurt us. I think Jack's situation and what happened was reactionary. It's not an indication of what Jack is.
"You look back at Jack's career here at Miami, he even hasn't had a technical foul. I don't know how its been viewed because I don't watch much TV in terms of the situation and whether all the facts were put out there. I just want to make one thing clear and nobody knows Jack better as a person than I do, there were things that went on in that game that led to up to Jack's situation. But obviously Jack knows what he did was not right and as we move further on Jack will know there will be other situations where he may be antagonized or people being physical with him. That's going to happen and you got to have better composure than that."
As for Rios, Haith admitted Miami certainly could have used him on Tuesday night.
"Eddie is a guy that can definitely help us when Eddie's right mentally," Haith said. "Ball handling is such a key ingredient to having success. Eddie is definitely a ball handler we didn't the other night and it showed not having Jack or Eddie against their 2-2-1 press. When you have good teams, you have good ball handlers. We're going to need it on Saturday."
Here's the link to the full press conference from this afternoon.