Volume 91, Issue 49

Tuesday, November 25, 1997



Top Mustang gets bounced

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO PAY TO WATCH THE GAME NOW? Former all-star Chris Webber [42] won't be leading the team in scoring this season after violation of team ethics resulted in his dismissal from the Mustangs.

By Ian Ross

Gazette Staff

The Western men's basketball team will be heading into this year's regular season without the services of all-star forward Chris Webber after he was kicked off the team for breaking conduct codes.

In what would have been his fourth year of eligibility and second season with the Mustangs, Webber was dismissed by head coach Craig Boydell in the middle of the team's exhibition season.

"This was a decision I made based upon normal considerations, principles and guidelines that all of the team should abide by," Boydell said. "The decision to release Chris is consistent with these guidelines."

Boydell refused to expand further on the circumstances surrounding the issue, stating only that "obviously there was something that had happened outside of what we do [on the court] but these are personal matters."

Webber was unavailable for comment about his dismissal from the team.

Darwin Semotiuk, Western's chair of intercollegiate athletics, confirmed that Webber had been removed from the team, but stated the action was not the result of violating any of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union's academic rules.

"I am assuming that Chris was a student in good standing," he said.

Last season, Webber, a six-foot-nine native of Owen Sound, was Western's top offensive threat, leading the Mustangs in scoring and was second in rebounds. His efforts earned him second team Ontario all-star honours.

Through the first half of this year's exhibition schedule he continued to put up some impressive numbers, including a team-high 22 points in a consolation championship win against Memorial University at the Waterloo Naismith Classic on Nov. 9.

He was one of the final players cut off of the Canadian team that went to the World University Games in Sicily, Italy last summer. Instead, he joined last year's CIAU champion, the University of Victoria Vikes and travelled to Taiwan to compete in the internationally recognized Jones Cup.

"Chris was as talented as any player in the CIAU," McMaster head coach Joe Raso said.

With the departure of Webber, Raso feels the inexperienced Mustang team will need to dig deeper if they hope to find success this season.

"Whenever you lose an impact player it's going to have an effect," he said. "In the short run it should be difficult, but for him to be asked to leave the team there must be a good reason and in the long term, hopefully it would be a benefit to the team."

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