Udoka Suspension: 'It's been hell for us’ confess Celtics players
Boston Celtics players Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown addressed the ongoing "hell" their team is dealing with following the suspension of Nigeria born head coach Ime Udoka.
Less than a week after the Celtics suspended Udoka following allegations he violated team policy, players spoke to reporters about the situation during the league's annual media day.
Jayson Tatum, the 24-year-old Celtics star, told Jared Weiss of The Athletic that he and teammates learned of Udoka's suspension "on Twitter, like everybody else."
Tatum also said, "It's just an unfortunate situation, all things considered. Nobody expected this coming into the season. We were all caught off guard by everything," per USA Today.
"It's been hell for us," added point guard Marcus Smart. The 28-year-old reigning Defensive Player of the Year told reporter Jared Weiss that the timing of Udoka's suspension was especially difficult for the team to navigate. "It happened in a time that we didn't have any time to understand everything before media day...we just found out like you guys did, so we're doing our best to cope."
Udoka, 45, allegedly had a consensual intimate relationship with a woman on the team's staff, sources previously confirmed to PEOPLE. Smart said that despite the reports, "Nobody died, so we didn't lose anything," he said.
"I still love Ime as a person and as a coach. It's just something unfortunate that has happened to him. It doesn't take away anything from him as a coach, from how he turned this team around."