Corey Maggette, a former Clippers player who has called games this season as a Clippers analyst for Fox Sports West, has been accused of raping a woman during his time at Duke 20 years ago.
The New York Times reported the allegation, citing an interview with a friend of the woman, Meredith Watson, and Facebook messages she sent a friend about the alleged incident. Watson also has accused Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Justin E. Fairfax, of raping her.
Maggette denied the accusation through a spokesman, referring to a statement released to the New York Times: “It has only been through media accounts and a statement from Meredith Watson’s lawyer that I first learned or heard of anything about these sexual assault allegations. I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge.”
Maggette played at Duke in the 1998-99 season before beginning a 14-year NBA career. He has covered the Clippers this season as both a pre- and postgame analyst and color commentator. He did not work during Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“FOX Sports takes allegations of misconduct seriously, and we are looking into the matter,” a network spokeswoman wrote in an email. “We have no further comment at this time.”
Duke is investigating the allegation, per multiple reports.
Doc Rivers has a ‘surreal’ experience
It was his son Austin’s rookie season in the NBA and coaches who’d known Austin as a child called the elder Rivers to express their wonderment about where the time had gone.
“They would call like, ‘I’m coaching against Austin?’” Rivers said.
Oh, how he would have loved to have expressed the same sentiment Monday to Flip Saunders.
The Clippers’ game Monday marked Rivers’ first time facing Saunders’ 32-year-old son, Ryan, who last month was named interim coach of the Timberwolves.
Rivers, who has known Ryan Saunders since he was in elementary school, called it “surreal.”
“I really wish Flip was here tonight,” he said. “It’d be pretty cool, the fact I’m coaching against his son.”
Flip Saunders, a longtime Timberwolves coach who died in 2015 from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was “as close as I can be with a guy,” Rivers said. When the Washington Wizards fired Saunders in 2012, Saunders became a de facto Boston Celtics assistant during that year’s playoffs at Rivers’ invitation. The two walked back to the team’s hotel from the arena after shoot-arounds during the playoffs. Saunders, technically an advisor, wore Celtics gear.
The two were “very close,” Ryan Saunders said. “When we’d go to L.A. and play, my dad and I wouldn’t be able to get dinner because he’d be going to have dinner with Doc.”
Saunders is younger than three of the Timberwolves’ players but has more NBA experience than many coaches in the league after joining the Wizards out of college in 2009. He was promoted upon the January firing of Tom Thibodeau, another of Rivers’ close friends in coaching. It wasn’t a unique situation in Rivers’ career — friends have succeeded friends before, he said — but he called it nonetheless a “tough one.”
“I called Ryan right away and wished him luck,” Rivers said, “and made sure he reached out to Thibs and did all the right things coming in. He did all those things.”
Saunders and Rivers spoke before Monday’s tipoff.
“It’s good to be able to see somebody like Doc,” Ryan Saunders said.
But that’s where the sentimentality ended, at least for the next two hours.
“I want to beat him just like I wanted to beat his dad, so there’s no change there,” Rivers said.
Montrezl Harrell receives ovation from teammates
The reason? Not his rim-rattling dunks, nor his energy, but his passing.
Rivers believed that two assists by Harrell in the third quarter kick-started a rally that erased a 28-point deficit and resulted in a Clippers victory.
“In my 20 years of coaching I don’t think a player has ever gotten a standing ovation,” Rivers said. “We were very happy he was making passes.”
In his fourth NBA season, Harrell is averaging a career-high 1.7 assists a game, and while he’ll never lead the Clippers in assists his improvement has been necessary as defenses focus more on stopping Harrell whether in the post or running to the rim off pick-and-rolls. He matched a career high for one half Thursday with four assists against the Indiana Pacers.
“Trez has come from not being an offensive player in his career, at least in the NBA, to now being one getting a lot of support as far as helps and digs and traps,” Rivers said. “His next stage is now seeing open guys and he did it over and over.”
Rivers could break reputation
Rivers is often cited as a coach who prefers not to play rookies, but a bench lineup featuring rookie guards Jerome Robinson and Landry Shamet has been used twice since the trade deadline and could become a staple the rest of the season.
Rivers likes playing the shooters alongside guard Lou Williams and forward Danilo Gallinari because, “If you don’t have spacing with that little unit, you’ll never have spacing.”
The drawback is defense. Neither Shamet, Robinson nor Williams is a noted defender and the combination is a liability, Rivers acknowledged.
“You’re asking a lot from those three,” he said. “Offensively that should be a great lineup.”