Jan. 2 (UPI) -- University of Southern California junior forward Chimezie Metu has been stripped of his captaincy and wrote an apology to an opponent after hitting him below the belt.
Metu's act of unsportsmanlike conduct took place Sunday in the Trojans' 89-71 victory against Washington State at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Metu was ejected from the game late in the first half. Cougars guard Carter Skaggs was attempting a 3-point shot from the left side when Metu ran in to defend. He hit Skaggs in the groin with his left fist while Skaggs was landing for his follow-through.
"I didn't see it and haven't talked to anyone about it yet," Trojans coach Andy Enfield said after the game. "If it was poor sportsmanship, we'll address it because that's not something we condone."
Enfield addressed it by ordering the 6-foot-11, 225-pound forward to sit out for the first half of the team's next game. USC faces Cal at 10:30 p.m. Thursday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. Metu's apology was also addressed to Cougars coach Ernie Kent, the Cougar basketball family, his USC teammates, Trojans fans and his family.
He wrote "a lack of judgment for a split second led to an action that I immediately regretted and had no business committing in the first place," according to the USC athletic department. "I understand there is no place in the game of basketball for such an unsportsmanlike action."
He also said he is "prepared to take any necessary steps to ensure that I am not involved in such an incident moving forward."
Happy new year from USC's Chimezie Metu pic.twitter.com/sEOAkpqmAa— Patrick Moore (@PatrickWEHT) January 1, 2018
Metu is ranked as the No. 28 college prospect by ESPN. He finished Sunday's game with seven points, two assists, a rebound and a block in 10 minutes of action.