Manual junior Josh Ivory involved in fight with summer basketball refs
Updated: Apr 21, 2019
Ivory was involved in the Atlanta summer basketball tournament fight.
Editor's note: This story won fourth place for sports news in the 2018 Illinois Press Association Awards.
A fight that broke out during a summer basketball tournament in Atlanta on Sunday involved Josh Ivory, a 6-foot-5 forward from Manual.
Ivory, playing for the Chicago-based R.A.W. Athletics, was identified in a video that shows him punching a referee, who was lying on the ground covering his head.
“What he did was wrong,” said Ryan Julius, who is Ivory’s coach with Heart of Illinois, a Peoria-based team. “I don’t care if it was self-defense or not. It doesn’t represent him, Heart of Illinois, Manual or his family.”
Julius said Ivory had requested permission to play for R.A.W. Athletics because Heart of Illinois did not have a tournament scheduled this weekend. Julius said Ivory will remain with the program but has been suspended at least through the rest of this summer season.
“We do things for the right reasons and try to help these kids,” Julius said. “Turning our back on the kid is not the way we want to do this. There’s got to be consequences for his actions or else he’ll never grow up.
“I’m going to help him and be there for him.”
Larry Ivory, Josh’s father, declined comment.
Ivory played in 12 games as a sophomore for Manual last season and averaged 1.3 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.
Rams coach Willie Coleman declined comment except to say he is investigating the incident.
Tournament director Josh Miley did not immediately return an email from the Journal Star.
The brawl broke out late in a semifinal game between R.A.W. Athletics and the Houston Raptors, with the Raptors leading 77-68 in the final minute, according to the scoreboard on a video.
After talking with three coaches involved, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg wrote, “tempers flared in the final minute of the game when a Raw Athletics player allegedly disputed a foul call by complaining vehemently and shoulder-bumping the referee who blew the whistle. The referee then assessed a technical foul against the player, which allegedly resulted in the player throwing a punch and setting off the first in a series of scrums.”
Video of one “scrum” shows Ivory standing over a shirtless referee and throwing punches at him before another referee tackles Ivory into the bleachers.
R.A.W. Athletics coach Howard Martin did not immediately respond to the Journal Star’s request for comment via Twitter. Martin took to Twitter to defend his players but since has deleted his tweet.
“A ref actually walked up on one of our players and attacked him,” Martin tweeted. “Everyone tried to break it all up, then the ref’s father (who was working a game on a different court) ran over to our court and rushed our guys..everyone in the gym, the other team and the directors saw everything.”
Raptors coach Bobby Benjamin did not immediately return the Journal Star’s email request for comment.