On the eve of his team’s opening game in the NCAA tournament, Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said the firing of assistant coach Yann Hufnagel will not be a distraction or obstacle for the Bears.
Martin took at least a half-dozen questions related to the scandal that broke Monday, and did his best to calmly deflect them while painting a picture of focus in his team’s locker room.
“We talk about how things happen in life, whether it’s basketball, the classroom, family members,” he said of how he addressed the issue with his players this week. “It’s a bump in the road, you keep moving forward.
“We don’t spend a lot of time on it. We’re not consumed by it. We talk about it, deal with it, that’s life.”
Hufnagel was fired following a campus investigation in which he acknowledged inappropriate dealings with a female reporter. The university has since said it will review the entire situation, including whether Martin promptly reported the news to the university after learning what happened.
“I’m not going to deal with that right now because we’re playing in the NCAA tournament. It’s a university issue right now,” he said during a podium interview. “Right now the biggest concern is our basketball team in the NCAA tournament.”
Asked if he’s concerned there could be fallout that could put his own job in jeopardy, Martin said it’s not his priority right now.
“I don’t worry about those things, to be totally honest with you,” he said. “My job with this basketball team is to win games, graduate young men and develop young men. Anything else is a waste of time.”