BOZICH | Terry Rozier 0-for-3 while defending Louisville basketb - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Terry Rozier 0-for-3 while defending Louisville basketball

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Former U of L guard Terry Rozier (0) has been reluctant to defend the program from the allegations in a controversial book. Former U of L guard Terry Rozier (0) has been reluctant to defend the program from the allegations in a controversial book.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Until he says that outrageous things did not happen around the University of Louisville basketball program during his two seasons in town, Terry Rozier has positioned himself as a guy suggesting that they did happen.

How many times has Rozier failed to say something as simple as, “This story is not true. It’s wrong and unfair?”

Or, “I never saw anything like that.”

Or even, “I did not have sex with any of those women.”

The answer is ZERO.

By my unofficial count, Rozier has had three cracks to defend his former program by attacking the credibility of Katina Powell, whose book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” has provided lurid and stinging column material for writers from the Washington Post to USA Today to Sports Illustrated to The Nation. It's material that included mentions of Rozier.

Money can’t buy that kind of publicity – or scrub away its residue. Some former players have tried to minimize the damage by defending Rick Pitino and the U of L program. Even Chane Behanan, a guy Pitino dismissed from the team, has written in defense of the program.

Terry Rozier has not been one of those players, other than to give a brief defense of Pitino.

Three times.

At least three writers have spoken with Rozier. After playing two seasons for the Cardinals and leading the team in scoring in 2015, Rozier is primed for his rookie year with the Boston Celtics, the franchise that drafted him with the 16th pick in the first round of the NBA Draft last June.

The first questioner was Adam Himmelsbach, the Celtics’ beat writer for the Boston Globe. He talked to Rozier in a story that appeared Oct. 4, two days after the story broke and turned U of L basketball upside down.

Rozier said this: “When it’s time to answer those questions and deal with that, I will. But right now I’m just trying to take in this moment with these guys out here and have a lot of fun with my teammates. So, like I said, when that time comes to answer that, I will.”

Interesting. But understandable. Maybe Rozier needed time to read what was written before responding.

The second was Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, who advanced the story to five alarms Tuesday when he and John Barr wrote that two former U of L recruits as well as three former Cardinals’ players confirmed they attended parties at Billy Minardi Hall that included strippers.

On the record, Rozier said this in the ESPN story: "I don't want to talk about it. ... I was already committed before I took my visit. ... I will say, though, Coach P [Pitino], as far as the dorm situations and visits, he'd go out to eat with the recruits and their parents. As far as after that, he wouldn't know. ... I can say his nose is clean."

Hmmmm.

Round three arrived in the latest Boston Globe story. Rozier was interviewed by Julian Benbow in this story dated Oct. 22.

This time Rozier said that his phone was “off,” on Tuesday and that he did not watch any of ESPN’s coverage of the Louisville sex scandal. He also said that he has not spoken with investigators from Louisville or the NCAA.

Asked if he had a reaction to what has been alleged in the stories, Rozier said … well, strangely, Rozier said this:

“None at all. I had a great time my two years at Louisville. I’m a Celtic now, so that’s all I’m worried about -- getting better here.

“I don’t allow it to be a distraction, because I have a great support system. I have great people around me and I just pay attention to what’s important to my life right now, and that’s not really important to me.

“I’m just trying to get better, I’m a Celtic. I’m not a Cardinal no more. So I’m just moving on.”

Something that is incredibly important to a coaching staff that worked with Rozier for two seasons is not really important to Rozier today? No chance he could throw those guys a bouquet?

Six months ago Rozier sat in a chair at The Carrier Dome, burning with disappointment after his U of L team finished its season one game short of the 2015 NCAA Final Four by losing to Michigan State in the East Regional final.

Now, Rozier leaves behind a handful of former teammates who have to be wondering where their program and college careers sit with the NCAA. And he says, “I’m not a Cardinal no more?”

Whatever happened to #L1C4?

Technically, I guess you can score Rozier’s comment as a double-negative and put him down as still on board.

But Terry Rozier is not talking like a guy who knows that Katina Powell is a serial fabricator or exaggerator. Or that nothing outrageously against the NCAA rules and the law happened in the U of L’s players’ dorm.

Or like a guy who is in a rush to defend his former university and program or who wants the best for fans who cheered nearly every move he made for two seasons.

And Terry Rozier has had three opportunities to do exactly that.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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