Horrific sucker punch gets Saint Leo basketball player a two-game suspension

Saint Leo senior Isiah Hill has been suspended for two games after he took a cheap shot at an opposing player. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

A Saint Leo University basketball player has officially learned that sucker punching is not allowed in basketball games.

According to The Ledger, Saint Leo senior Isiah Hill was suspended for two games after delivering a cheap shot on an opposing player from Nova Southeastern during Saturday’s game. The incident was caught on video and was posted to Twitter.

At the four-second mark in the video, the referee is standing in the upper left corner, and Hill is a few feet away in a yellow uniform. Hill then turns and punches a player in a black uniform, who crumples to the floor holding his head.

It’s hard to tell whether Hill used his fist or his forearm to punch the opposing player, junior guard Nick Smith, but thankfully Smith was only stunned. According to The Ledger, he got up and played the rest of the game and didn’t sustain any injuries from the incident.

No matter what body part Hill used to punch Smith, that’s definitely not allowed during a basketball game. But you wouldn’t know that from the reaction of the referee, who was standing close to Hill when he punched Smith but somehow didn’t see it. Hill was punished after the video of the punch started making the rounds on social media.

"Isaiah's conduct on the court is not an accurate representation of Saint Leo's core values,” athletic director Francis X. Reidy said in a statement. “Saint Leo University holds its students to high standards of moral and ethical conduct as a reflection of Benedictine values. Upon review of Isaiah's actions this past Saturday, he will not represent Saint Leo University in competition for the remainder of 2019."

The president of Saint Leo, Jeffrey Senese, also released a statement, but not before posting and then deleting a tweet defending Hill. The Ledger captured the text of the tweet before it was deleted.

“Posting one out of context video when your team violently fouls, takes constant cheap shots and disrespects you in an unsportsmanlike manner every minute of the game is cowardly and weak! #SaintLeo.”

Yikes. The Ledger reported that the game was physical between both teams, but even in context, sucker punching an opposing player is pretty bad. Can’t we agree on that?

Eventually Senese did agree and released a statement, which included an indirect apology for his tweet at the very, very end.

“After a careful review of Isaiah Hill's actions during the December 7 game against Nova Southeastern University, the university has suspended him from play for the remainder of 2019. I support the decision of our coach and athletics administration. This type of conduct will not be tolerated. I am saddened by this event as this behavior does not reflect who we are at Saint Leo University and apologize for any comments that suggest otherwise.”

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