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Frank Haith gets fired up in Amsterdam, forfeits exhibition game

Aug 13, 2012, 8:30 AM EDT

Frank Haith AP

Yep. I wrote that headline just so you’d get those images in your head. Cheech & Chong. Harold & Kumar. Weeds.

Of course, it was nothing like that. Frank Haith’s Missouri Tigers are in the Netherlands for one reason, and one reason only, to play a series of warm-up exhibitions against European teams. The Tigers had a pleasant experience in Rotterdam earlier, cruising to an easy win. Saturday’s game in Amsterdam was a whole different platter of spekdikken.

According to the Kansas City Star, a supposedly friendly match against the Dutch National Team’s under-24 squad turned ugly, resulting in an ejection for the head coach. A riled-up Haith then yanked his players from the match, forfeiting the game.

Haith’s decision to pull his players off the floor came in the third quarter after his team had built a 25-point lead. Haith had just been ejected for arguing a no-call after Tigers freshman forward Stefan Jankovic apparently took an elbow to the head. Haith decided to act, though it sounds like he regrets pulling them off the floor.

“In my mind I was just fearful for the safety of our players, but in retrospect I wish I had let our team play it out and learn from the adversity,” Haith said in a statement released after the game. “I take complete responsibility. This is a learning experience for us all.”

Sounds like that escalated rather quickly. The best thing to come out of the incident, other than the potential for goofy jokes and eye-grabbing headlines, is the respect Haith earned from his charges.

“We are competitors, we want to play, but when we saw the look in Coach Haith’s eyes we knew he had our backs,” junior forward Earnest Ross told the newspaper. “We are a family and it feels great knowing your head coach will step out there for you like this.”

 

 

 

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