- May 23, 2008
What was the deal with Jason Sutherland? For some reason I'm not remembering him. Maybe I blocked it out?
From an SI article about him....
No matter how ugly it gets for Missouri this year—the Tigers dropped to a
woeful 2-5 in the Big 12 after losing to Texas 78-74 on Sunday—the team as a
whole can't possibly absorb as much abuse as Mizzou's senior shooting guard,
Jason Sutherland, whose aggressive tactics have earned him the abiding wrath of
Big 12 opponents and their fans, the grudging respect of coaches around the
conference and our selection as the Most Annoying Player in Division I.
A decent guy and good student off the court, Sutherland is a consensus pain
in the neck on it. He gets booed almost every time he touches the ball when the
Tigers play at Kansas, and on Jan. 11 at Oklahoma State his aggravating,
in-your-face play was rewarded with the most hostile razzing ever heard at
Gallagher-Iba Arena. In a fairly typical game last week against Nebraska,
Sutherland was charged with two intentional fouls—first for undercutting a
Corn-husker on a layup, then for hacking another—in the first seven minutes, and
early in the second half he was in the middle of a pileup that brought both
teams' coaches snarling onto the court. Sutherland, who typically fans his
opponents' fury by calmly walking away from the melees he instigates, escaped
unpenalized, but his coach, Norm Stewart, was charged with a technical for
screaming at his Nebraska counterpart, Danny Nee. After that storm had passed,
Sutherland iced the game for Missouri with a clutch shot from the foul line.
"I play very aggressive, I always have, and I know it gets people mad at me,"
says Sutherland, who got into another dustup on Sunday with Texas swingman Kris
Clack, who complained that Sutherland had been grabbing him throughout the game.
"If I cause my opponents to lose their concentration, to be thinking about
something other than what they should, great. That gives our team an edge."
"There's not a coach in our league who wouldn't love to have Sutherland on
his team," says Iowa State coach Tim Floyd. "He and Jerod Haase at Kansas are
two of the fiercest competitors in the nation. I love to watch kids play with
that kind of passion. It's infectious to teammates. It instills the kind of
competitiveness that you need to win on the road. I love Jason Sutherland."
Not everyone is so admiring. By the time Sutherland was a sophomore, one TV
broadcaster had labeled him the Bully of the Big Eight, and another had called
him the dirtiest player in the Big Eight. Says Sutherland, "I'm definitely not a
Growing up in Spearfish, S.D.—where his parents ran a pest-control business,
believe it or not—Sutherland became an age-group champion swimmer at 10. In high
school he was state champion in the high jump and all-state as a quarterback and
safety in football and was named the state's Mr. Basketball. Connie recalls that
one year, after Jason made the winning shot in overtime in a basketball game
between two undefeated schools, "we had to have a police escort out of there,
the fans were so mad at him."
Sutherland finds a certain honor in drawing the ire of so many people. Of the
cascade of boos that rained down on him in Stillwater, he said, "I'll always
remember it. At least they recognize me for something."