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Thoughts on the LewJack situation

Our esteemed point guard, Lewis Jackson, plead guilty yesterday to a couple of minor counts of minor consumption and possession of paraphernalia. The other two counts were drop as part of the plea agreement. As usual for a first-time offender, he will get no jail and he gets the cocktail of probation, a fine, and some community service. It's no big surprise that LewJack agreed to this, especially after the possession of alcohol and pot charges were dropped. He knew it was an open and shut case that he had done something wrong and would face punishment, so a plea deal was probably the best he could hope for. Now that his matter with the courts is settled, it is time for him to face Matt Painter's justice.

The closest case I can think of to this situation is that of Tarrance Crump before the 2005-06 season. That was coach Painter's first season in West Lafayette and it did not begin well. David Teague was already lost to a knee injury. We would lose Carl Landry five games in as he wasn't fully recovered from his knee injury. Crump then decided to get himself nice and loaded, hit a pedestrian with his car, and flee the scene. A year long suspension passed off as a "redshirt" was the result.

This situation is a little different. I don't think LewJack did was as severe. He didn't hit anyone. He didn't run from the scene which was akin to resisting arrest. From all account he cooperated with law enforcement fully. He now settled his matter in court as well. Crump wasn't kicked off the team, made the most of his second chance, and played his two seasons before graduating last year. I don't believe we'll see another year long suspension handed down, but I would place good money on LewJack sitting for the first few games in November. In the end, it is not a crippling suspension either. He'll likely sit against Sisters of the Poor and Blind and Directional U. as we ease into our schedule. There is the possibility he would miss the Virgin Islands trip, but I doubt it.

I do know that Matt Painter has zero tolerance for such acts after a first offense. He simply must be on his best behavior in his remaining three years or he will likely be gone. I remember the case of Korey Spates. It seems the Purdue point guard position is a breeding ground for negligent behavior in the player's first season. Spates, unlike Crump, chose not to follow the rules and was tossed out of the program the same time Crump was serving his suspension. The result was a bad year in 2005-06, but the program was better for it.

LewJack has a ton of promise. Not only does he make our team better, he can become a better player himself by playing with the talent we have assembled. It is critical that he sees this as a mistake and takes the chance to atone for it. Coach Painter had some interesting comments in the article posted on GBI this afternoon:

"Since he will be here in school this summer, I would expect the 50 hours of community service to be done locally and for him to have it completed by the end of the summer provided this is acceptable to the court. We will work with local authorities to ensure some of the service involves youth work and some exposes him to what can happen in a traffic accident where alcohol is involved. Other conditions, including those required by the court, will be established after we speak and satisfying those conditions will impact whether any playing time will be forfeited next season. Any conditions or disciplinary action will be handled within the team." - Matt Painter

Allow me to simplify:

I can't believe he is this stupid. I am not kicking him off the team, but he is in deep shit with me and you have no idea how much he will be running. He's also on VERY thin ice, and will be gone if he screws up again. - T-Mill paraphrasing Matt Painter.

I'm disappointed that he was this stupid. Personally, I don't care if he drinks or smokes some weed. That's his business. But to do both, then drive around with that stuff in the car is not smart. I do understand he is a 19 year old kid. Mistakes happen, so hopefully he will learn from this one. The choice is his.