Maze blames Craft


Posted Mar 21, 2011


One former Tennessee basketball player concedes that the NCAA violations that got Bruce Pearl fired are troubling but is concerned by the timing of certain allegations that came to light last summer.

“It sounds to me like (Ohio State freshman point guard) Aaron Craft was upset and came up with this after we beat them (in March of 2010) in the Sweet 16,” said Bobby Maze, referring to Pearl’s illegal contact with Craft at a September, 2008 cookout at Pearl's home.

Maze, the starting point guard on the 2009-10 Vol squad that made the Elite Eight for the first time in program history, considers the excessive phone calls and the coach’s admitted lies to NCAA investigators to be minor infractions when compared to the corruption elsewhere in college basketball. He says some agents and schools offer elite-level recruits large sums of money.

“I've been offered money, guys I know have taken it. To me, phone calls are all small,” Maze said. “And we have to be honest; you might catch (anyone) at a bad time and back them into a lie. At least he (Pearl) admitted it. A crime is a crime but taking a Snickers bar ain’t like robbing a bank.”

Regardless of the NCAA rules Pearl may have broken that led to his dismissal on Monday, Maze believes Tennessee's players and fans will remember the coach’s passion, his commitment to the school and the role he played in resurrecting a basketball program that had long been mired in mediocrity.

“Money doesn’t bring happiness,” said Maze, who now plays professionally in Lithuania. “Coach could have left and gotten more money from Memphis (after Tiger head man John Calipari left for Kentucky two years ago) but he always said he wanted to end his career at UT. For him to be fired, dismissed, whatever they’re calling it, that’ll be with him forever.

“Coach is definitely one of the greatest men that I have ever met - kind, loving, loyal. He took me in like his own son. This is a sad day for Tennessee.”


Related Stories
Maze salutes Vol Nation
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Jul 2, 2010
Vols vengeance
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Mar 6, 2010
Follow the leaders
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Feb 28, 2010

MAGAZINE COVERAGE
Get the 2014 Recruiting Yearbook and a full year of Rocky Top Magazine with an Annual Total Access Pass.
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from InsideTennessee.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
G Bobby Maze (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Basketball > Hutchinson > Alumni
Basketball > Tennessee
[View My HotList]