Montrezl Harrell will get to learn a lesson the hard way as the NBA Developmental League issued on Tuesday a five-game suspension against the 22-year old power forward playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, which is an affiliate of the Houston Rockets.
Aside from the five-game suspension, Harrell will also be paid while serving his suspension. According to Yahoo Sports, the NBA D-League decision stemmed from Harrell shoving an official to the floor following a post-play altercation with Bakersfield Jam forward Derek Cooke Jr.
The referees union welcomed the decision and called the incident as “a deliberate assault and battery” against a referee. But Cooke did not go without a punishment as he too was slapped with a one-game suspension for pushing Harrell.
The incident took place Saturday when the Jams, which is an affiliate of the Phoenix Suns, defeated the Vipers. With time winding in the fourth quarter, Harrell came across Cooke in a battle for a rebound with Cooke pushing Harrell at the end of the sequence. Cooke’s action did not go well with Harrell, who returned the favor and shoved Cooke as well. When game official Jason Goldberg intervene to cool down the situation, Harrell turned his rage on him and pushed the official to the floor. After the incident, officials got into the floor to pacify to prevent the incident from escalating further.
USA Today reported that the National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) has called for multiple games suspension for Harrell.
“After carefully reviewing videotape and related evidence concerning this incident, we have reached the inescapable conclusion that Harrell committed a deliberate assault and battery against Referee Goldenberg. Anything less than a multiple game suspension would constitute a green light for violence against officials,” NBRA general counsel Lee Seham said in a statement.
Harrell has not issued a statement regarding the issue as he will start serving his suspension immediately. Harrell was selected by the Houston Rockets as the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He then joined the Rockets for the 2015 NBA Summer League where he averaged 16.5 points and eight rebounds.
On Sept. 19 he signed a three-year deal with the Rockets and made his debut for the Rockets in the team’s season opener against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 28, recording eight points and three rebounds in a 105–85 loss. Two days later, he scored 17 points in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. On November 13, he made his first career start, scoring five points in just under 13 minutes of action, as the Rockets were defeated by the Denver Nuggets 107–98.
In 2012, Harrell was a member of the United States team at the FIBA U18 World Championship that won gold in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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