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GMU Athlete Suspended for 'Stepping On' Opposing Player

The suspension is 'indefinite.'

GMU junior and basketball player Anali Okoloji was suspended for 'stepping on' a player from the University of South Florida during a game against them Wednesday, Dec. 4. (Photo: George Mason Athletics)
GMU junior and basketball player Anali Okoloji was suspended for 'stepping on' a player from the University of South Florida during a game against them Wednesday, Dec. 4. (Photo: George Mason Athletics)
George Mason University basketball player Anali Okoloji has been suspended indefinitely for "stepping on" a player from the University of South Florida during a game against them Wednesday.

The official reason for the suspension was "conduct unbecoming of a George Mason student-athlete," GMU's website indicates.

GMU head basketball coach Paul Hewitt said in a statement, “Anali’s actions in Wednesday’s game were inexcusable and not what we expect from a George Mason student-athlete."

According to a student sports writer recapping the game on the GMU Hoops website, GMU had been enjoying a 17-point lead against South Florida, but when a foul was called against Okoloji, the player retaliated by "half stepping on, half kicking" Stan Heath from USF, who was lying on the ground.

Video of the incident is posted above.

The student sports writer wrote, "I was sitting right behind Stan Heath and it definitely looked like he stepped on him, and the video is pretty clear."

"A bone-headed play by a guy who is fighting for minutes. It was a huge turning point and gave USF the help they needed to get back into the game," the student wrote.

GMU lost the game, 68-66.

According to a statement from GMU officials on the school's website, Okoloji has appeared in eight games this season for the Patriots. He scored a season-high seven points at Iona College and at Princeton.

"Okoloji’s suspension will include the BB&T Classic on Sunday, Dec. 8 against Oklahoma," the statement indicates.


What do you think of Okoloji's actions and suspension? Tell us in the comments. 


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Mark Filiatreau December 06, 2013 at 08:53 AM
We saw most of that game and left early because we have small children who needed to get to bed. The next day they ask, "Who won the game?" "I'm sure we did, because we were 15 points ahead when we left." Now this. I would hate to have to tell them the truth. The guilty player should be suspended for the rest of the season. Let it serve as a deserved punishment -- and a warning to others. I had to see my alma mater's reputation sullied because of one stupid capitulation to violence.
Amy December 06, 2013 at 12:04 PM
It was a bonehead move and he should not have done it but people are acting like this is some major incident. It's not. Move on.
Burke Resident December 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM
It is a major incident if left unrecognized. Glad Hewitt made the suspension. Hope it is for the rest of the season. Certainly no loss to the team's capability, but hopefully a lesson learned. May be the team will rebound like they did after Skin's bonehead move. Of course Skin was a contributor.

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