Thursday, April 30, 2009

West Virginia's Joe Mazzulla Charged With Domestic Battery

Johnston, Rhode Island native, Joe Mazzulla; looks to be in hot water again at West Virginia, via ProJo Sports:

Joe Mazzulla’s future with the West Virginia basketball team is very much in jeopardy because of Mazzulla’s second arrest involving alcohol-related problems.

The 20-year-old Johnson resident has been indefinitely suspended by Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins after his arrest last week on charges of domestic battery. He was involved in an incident at The Lazy Lizard bar in Morgantown in which he allegedly grabbed a woman by the neck.

It was the second arrest for the Hendricken High grad. He pleaded guilty to charges of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct after an incident last September at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game in which he had a disagreement with security personnel.

“Joe is suspended indefinitely from all basketball related activities,” Huggins said in a statement issued through the school’s sports communications office. “We take violations of our team rules very seriously.”

Huggins will have no further comment on the situation at this time, the statement said. Bryan Messerly, the school’s contact for men’s basketball, said Monday that there is no timetable for the issue to be resolved.

Dan Mazzulla, Joe’s father, told The Providence Journal Monday night that his son very much enjoys being at West Virginia and hopes to stay.

``He has some personal issues and he’s being treated as we speak,’’ Mazzulla said. ``It’s a delicate issue.’’

He would not go into any detail other that to say the issues are medically related.

``He absolutely loves it there. He’s getting the proper treatment,’’ Mazzulla said. ``He hopes to stay.’’

Mazzulla, coming off a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament in March of 2008, began the season as the Mountaineers’ starting guard. However, he missed all but seven games because of a fractured growth plate in his left (shooting) shoulder. The problem happened in a fall during a game in December. It was hoped the problem could be solved without surgery, but when it did not go away Mazzulla had surgery in February and was in a brace for six weeks.

Mazzulla, who has been a Big East Academic All-Star and a member of the WVU athletic director’s academic honor roll, still is not fully healed. Attempts to reach him and members of his family Monday were not successful.

Assuming he would be given a red-shirt for this past season, Mazzulla still has two years of eligibility remaining.

His situation could be impacted by the personnel situation with the team. The Mountaineers recently signed the national junior college player of the year, Casey Mitchell. Mitchell is a 6-4 shooting guard from Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. His signing gives the team, which was a six seed in the NCAA Tournament this year but was beaten by Dayton in the opening round, commitments for 15 players for 2009-10. That is two above the limit, so the team will have to make moves to reduce its commitments by two.


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