If Taran Buie isn’t careful he’ll be the most talked about Penn State basketball player to have seen so little of the court. Since Penn State’s loss to Maine Buie has literally disappeared. Citing ” Violation of team rules” Buie hasn’t practiced or dressed for Penn State since December 21st. Considering he’s the biggest recruit Penn State has ever gotten, it’s a little odd that the program has no answer to the question “Where’d he go?”
Struggling to find his role all season Buie only averaged 5.8 points a game and was somewhat of a liability while on the court. There isn’t any doubt Buie has a lot of talent, but he just hasn’t found his game yet. Undoubtedly the disappointment around his performance is based on a somewhat fabricated hype. If Buiewas any other freshman on the team his play would be seen as promise in the future rather than a letdown. While Buie’s performance has been somewhat underwhelming by all accounts it hasn’t been for his lack of effort.
Either way Buie’s vanishing act in public is somewhat of a mystery. Even more troubling is the lack of information regarding his status. When asked about it, DeChellis typically refers to “no comment” or something a long those lines. Generally that isn’t a good sign.
So what could have happened, and what is going on? Lets take a look at the most likely options.
Missing a team practice/late to practice: This seemed the most likely when Buie didn’t dress the first game. DeChellis may work in a 3 strike program. Given Buie’s two summer legal issues a missed practice could have been the final straw. DeChellis didn’t let him dress and put him in his place. 4 games later that doesn’t seem likely. Players miss practice or come late, but they’re never suspended for 5 games and don’t practice because of that. If that was the case it could easily be dealt with in a simple statement, drama is no more, and it’s an internal issue.
Internal Issues: It’s a possibility that Buie has struggled to fit into a system with such discipline. He struggled at State High to fi into a similar system but did admit to making large strides later in the year. As far as his time at Penn State this would contradict multiple candid sources that said Buie was a positive energy in practice and the locker-room. Considering Buie’s main reason behind coming to Penn State was to play with Battle, it seems unlikely he’s rubbing everyone the wrong way. There have been murmurs that DeChellis has been upset with Buie’s play outside the system in the Mississippi game, but if that was the case Jeff Brooks would have been benched his freshman year on.
Legal Issues: Considering Buie’s run in with the law this summer it seemed like the obvious choice when the suspension became public. Penn State traditionally doesn’t report legal troubles during winter break until after the fact making this week around the time that would become public. That has not transpired, and in a town where athletes are scrutinized everyday it seems unlikely that anything legal would slip by the public eye. This is still a possible choice, but as the days go by it seems less likely.
What we’ve heard:
Generally it isn’t our policy to address or publish wild rumors. It isn’t news, and it isn’t something you can’t find on many message boards. Given the lack of information however it’s our hope that publishing this rumor would start some forward momentum in getting to the bottom of this subject. As we saw with Iowa’s drug test rumors, and Joe Paterno’s health, the Internet can often make a program stop and say “ok listen, this is what’s going on.” It isn’t our goal spread something that isn’t true, rather it’s our attempt at finding out why Penn State basketball’s biggest recruit in the history of the program has disappeared and nobody knows why.
The rumor at this point is Buie was caught smoking marijuana with a friend over break by a member of the coaching staff. The location is up for debate, a closed dorm, or the Nittany Lion Inn where the Lions stay the night before home games have both been hinted at. This would fit the bill as it wouldn’t be a lockerroom issues, or legal (caught by coaches not police) rather something in between.
What happens now remains to be seen, but an untimely and unexplained disappearance of a player of Buie’s stature is worth examination.