Don’t close your eyes when the Detroit Titans are introduced tonight in front of the crowd at Calihan Hall. Take it in.
Ray McCallum Jr., Chase Simon, Jason Calliste, Doug Anderson and LeMarcus Lowe will trot out as the starting lineup for the Titans, but they won’t be the five with the most minutes.
Barring foul trouble, the player with the most minutes at the center spot in tonight’s game will be Eli Holman.
Eli Holman, I say. Since coming back from “indefinite leave,” Eli Holman and the Detroit Titans are 9-6, sitting at 7-6 in the conference and in sixth place, setting themselves up for a home game in the conference tournament.
In case you need a refresher, Eli Holman went on indefinite leave after allegedly assaulting three members of a frat house on Detroit’s campus back in September, breaking one kid’s nose.
The story went down like this. One of the basketball players at a frat party was hanging on pipes in the basement. After asking the player repeatedly to not hang from the pipes, Holman assaulted one of the students. Fearing for their safety, the fraternity brothers fled, with Holman attacking two more, eventually knocking one to the ground and breaking his nose.
It was at this point that Holman’s teammates restrained him, and the members of the Titans’ basketball team left the scene. Holman did not commit any other crimes that night.
In case you’re wondering, that is Aggravated Assault in the state of Michigan. What are the penalties for this, you ask? I just so happened to stumble across them using my super Google powers:
Aggravated assault is a misdemeanor in Michigan. It is defined by Michigan statute as an assault, without a weapon, that results in a serious or aggravated injury.
I’d certainly consider a broken nose to be serious or aggravated injury. The fact that Holman’s attack was put through with little provocation and he needed to be restrained from continuing to pummel a defenseless frat boy is all I need to know that this wasn’t your run of the mill “kid talks smack, guy punches kid, end of story.” Holman had little provocation, then proceeded to chase and assault three fraternity brothers during the incident.
This was reported in the Varsity News, UDM’s student newspaper. The same paper reported that the student with the broken nose was holding off legal action pending the response by the university.
So, what was the response by the university?
Eli Holman took an “indefinite leave of absence” from the program. He ended up missing ten games (the Titans have played 25 so far), coming back to the program before the St. John’s game, but first appearing on the bench in the Titans’ match-up with Western Michigan, a game in which Holman scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
It was the day of the St. John’s game, when word had spread of Holman’s return, that I sent an e-mail to Detroit’s AD Keri Gaither to ask her about Holman’s status.
Thanks for your support & interest in Titan Athletics.
I wish I could give you a definite answer but the truth is, I don’t know. We are all hoping to have Eli return as soon as possible.
Again, thanks for your support.
The first and third sentences are the stock answer that writers love to get. The middle one, where she addresses the question.
She doesn’t know.
The athletic director? Doesn’t know? What kind of world is this?
When Torre Johnson got drunk and hit his girlfriend, he was immediately apologetic and cowered in a closet to avoid further spats. He was off the team by noon the next day.
Eli Holman attacked three frat boys, in a scene with many eyewitnesses, and had to be pulled off one that had been pinned to the ground and was absorbing blows. He got a two-month vacation from the program and although he isn’t starting, he’s played starter’s minutes in almost all of the 15 games he has appeared in.
For misdemeanor Aggravated Assault in Michigan, the punishment is up to one year in prison and $1,000 in fines. With three counts, Holman should have been looking at up to three years of prison time. He’s lucky he doesn’t have prior convictions, because those would come with a possible “enhanced sentence.”
Of course, just because he doesn’t have prior convictions doesn’t mean it’s the first time Holman has exhibited violent behavior. He left Indiana after a verbal spat with Tom Crean (totally understandable, Tan Tommy is a douche) which culminated in him knocking over a potted plant. Last year, he missed a game for suspension after punching a UIC player in the groin.
If you ask me, Holman is too much like a kid. Frustrated with your role on the team? Temper tantrum. Angry that the game isn’t going the way it should? Punch the guy in the balls. Don’t like the frat boy pushing you around? Push him til he doesn’t push back.
This is not the behavior of someone who deserves a full-ride scholarship to a reputable NCAA D-I university.
Essentially, Holman missed the part of the schedule that matters least – non-conference. He came back when the Titans needed him most, and he’s been back ever since. The Titans are 9-6, 7-4 in conference since his return.
The worst part about it, other than the alleged assault itself, is the enabling of Holman by Detroit Titans Athletics.
What do Ray McCallum Sr., Keri Gaither and the rest of the Titans tell us with their actions in this situation?
Victories mean more than justice.
Here’s to hoping the Black and Gold serve some up tonight.