Suspended West High all-state basketball player Dondre Alexander has left the team. Alexander was suspended for an undisclosed violation of school policy Feb. 5, but the suspension would have been over during the state tournament series had Alexander been reinstated and the team reached the semifinals.
West High athletic director Scott Kibby said that Alexander was required to do several “simple things” to be reinstated and that he did none of them.
“On Wednesday, somebody came to me, I don’t even remember who, it might have been (track) coach (Brian) Martz, but it might not have been, and said that Dondre attended track practice for the week,” Kibby said. “I was gone at state wrestling (Thursday) so today I met with him, and he has decided to move from basketball into track season, so he’s transitioned into that already.”
Kibby said Alexander wasn’t dismissed from the team; it was Alexander’s choice to move on to track where he is a high jumper. But West High Principal Jerry Arganbright noted that Alexander wasn’t going to be reinstated anyway, apparently referring to the player’s failure to comply with the steps set out for his reinstatement.
Alexander, interviewed after school on Friday said, “I guess it was left in my hands, but I was instructed that I had to take a drug test in order to come back and play.”
He said he did not know why he was asked to take a drug test, and he had never been asked to do so before.
“I don’t see why they would ask me to take a drug test,” he said.
Alexander tweeted earlier Friday that he was “done for the rest of the season now #didn’t do something I didn’t have to.” He also tweeted, “why should I have to take a drug test. Because someone seen me downtown?”
Kibby said no drug test was scheduled for Alexander, but he would not discuss the specifics of what the school asked of Alexander for confidentiality reasons.
Alexander said he was asked to lift weights with the football team after school, which he was doing anyway, and to take a drug test in order to be reinstated.
Alexander, a senior, signed a national letter of intent last fall to play college basketball at Southern Mississippi. Last season he led West in scoring at the state tournament with 54 total points and was named captain of the 4A all-tournament team. He also earned first-team all-state honors. This year he played in 14 games and averaged 10 points and four rebounds.
He said he was sure that the Southern Miss coaches were aware of the situation because coach Steve Bergman called them every week.
Alexander tweeted that “I hate that man..as a person and the way he does (things),” but it was unclear to whom he referred. He finished the tweet with a hashtagged obscenity.
Alexander said leaving the team was tough.
“I wish I could still play with them; they’re my teammates,” he said. “I can’t really do anything now.”
Bergman deferred to Kibby in commenting on the situation. The top-ranked Trojans finished the regular season 21-0, winning the MVC title, and are riding a 47-game winning streak. The team has had no trouble on the court adjusting to Alexander’s absence, winning each of its games handily.
Reach Susan Harman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 339-7369.