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Archive for Saturday, January 4, 2003

Gooden apologizes for pouting incident

January 4, 2003

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— Memphis Grizzlies rookie Drew Gooden has apologized for refusing to join a team huddle out of frustration over playing time.

"It was wrong for me to do what I did," said Gooden, whose pouting was animated after being benched for the fourth quarter of last Tuesday's game against Boston. "That was my first time ever having that attitude with any of my coaches. So I want to apologize to the fans and my coach for my actions."

Gooden, who led Kansas University in scoring and rebounding last season, also vowed to make serious improvements in his game.

"I'm very happy with Drew because he knew and understood the situation," Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said.

Gooden struggled most of December while adjusting to playing the small forward position and with sporadic minutes on the floor.

"I thought it would be more of me going back and forth (at each forward position)," Gooden said. "Playing all of my minutes at the three is something I'll have to adjust to. I'll be all right."

Brown has replaced Gooden in the starting lineup with second-year pro Shane Battier.

"The defensive end of the floor is where he has to work the hardest," Brown said of Gooden. "He's young. He's got great talent. It's up to us to get it out of him and make him a terrific player here in a couple of years."

Brown also pointed to Gooden's carelessness. Gooden committed 33 turnovers in 14 games last month.

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