Nightclub incident gets UC player booted from team

Octavius Ellis
Octavius Ellis

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - University of Cincinnati men's basketball head coach Mick Cronin announced Friday his decision to remove a young player from his team, following an incident at a downtown nightclub last weekend.

Men's basketball student-athlete Octavius Ellis has been dismissed from the team.

On Sunday, bouncer Brian McLucas, 23, accused several UC players of assaulting him early Sunday morning at PLAY nightclub on 7th Street downtown.

McLucas said several players were sitting at someone else's VIP table and drinking their alcohol, and when he asked them to move, he was punched in the eye and then kicked when he took the player to the ground.

"Octavius didn't adhere to the standard of conduct I expect from members of our team," said Cronin. "I will work to help him find a fresh start at a new program because I do care very much for him as a person.  I believe he can benefit from being in a new environment. That's likely what will help him the best to learn and mature from this."

The University has learned that no formal charges will be filed.

"I regret the mistakes I made this year and I know I need to mature as a person," Ellis said. "I want to thank my coaches and teammates for the opportunity I had at UC."

UC director of athletics Whit Babcock supported Cronin's decision and said, "I believe Coach Cronin has our program headed in the right direction.  I appreciate his leadership of our young men athletically, academically, and socially."

A freshman forward from Memphis, Tenn., Ellis played in three games during the 2011-12 season, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 8.3 minutes.