The Pac-12 Conference has affirmed the disciplinary action taken by USC to suspend forward Chimezie Metu for a flagrant foul on Washington State’s Carter Skaggs in the first half of Sunday’s game between the Trojans and Cougars at the Galen Center, commissioner Larry Scott announced on Monday.
Metu will be suspended for the first half of USC’s next game against Cal on Thursday and will forfeit his team captaincy.
The preseason All-Pac-12 selection was ejected from Sunday’s game – an 89-71 USC win – when he swung a closed fist into Skaggs’ groin after the WSU sophomore released a 3-point attempt.
Metu also issued a letter to Skaggs, WSU coach Ernie Kent and the Cougars basketball team, writing “a lack of judgment for a split second led to an action that I immediately regretted and had no business committing in the first place. I understand there is no place in the game of basketball for such an unsportsmanlike action.”
In addition, Metu said he is “prepared to take any necessary steps to ensure that I am not involved in such an incident moving forward.”
In a press release from the Pac-12, Scott commended USC “for taking swift action in response to this incident,” and said “Mr. Metu’s action toward a fellow student-athlete is unacceptable and the Conference supports USC’s disciplinary measures.”
The conference won’t assess any further penalties to Metu or USC.
During a postgame interview, Skaggs provided his own account of the incident: “That’s something I’ve never had happen to me before,” he said. “That kid took a full fist and really tried to take a swing at me. Then, the funny thing is, one of their assistant coaches looked up at me and said, ‘Why are you faking?’ ”
Kent said he didn’t have clear sight of the play as it happened.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened,” the WSU coach said. “Obviously, I haven’t seen it yet, but the officials had control of the game and they made the call.”
Metu is a projected first-round NBA Draft pick who’s averaging 17.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game this season for the Trojans.