Washington men’s basketball coach Mike Hopkins spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since the university announced Husky star Nahziah Carter had been suspended following university investigations upholding two sexual assault allegations.
“I don’t take these allegations lightly,” Hopkins said during a teleconference. “It’s very important to educate our kids. My heart goes out to the victims. I couldn’t imagine what they are experiencing. It’s very important that we learn lessons from all of these different things that we’re going through during the season — on and off the court.”
Two students separately reported Carter to UW’s Title IX office earlier this year, and in each case an administrative hearing officer determined he violated the school’s policy against sexual assault.
On Oct. 15, the Huskies announced Carter was suspended from all team activities for violating the school’s intercollegiate athletics student code of conduct without mentioning the sexual assault investigations.
At the time, Hopkins said: “Hopefully he can come back. If not, it will be a huge loss for us.”
On Tuesday, Hopkins clarified those remarks.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate for me or somebody in my position to be talking about an university issue,” he said. “There is a process and we had to let the process play out.”
After two unsuccessful appeals, Carter’s suspension for three quarters was finalized Dec 2. Two days later, he announced he was leaving school to pursue a professional basketball career.
“The process with our administration to dismiss Naz from the program was underway last Wednesday upon learning that his appeal of a university student code of conduct policy was been denied,” Hopkins said. “I take allegations of this nature extremely seriously. Wednesday night, Naz informed me that he would be leaving the program to pursue a professional career.
“As the leader of this program, I hold myself and our student-athletes to the highest standards on and off the court, and we hold ourselves to those standards. For that reason, Naz is no longer a part of this program.”
Carter, a 6-foot-6 senior guard who averaged 12.2 points and 4.9 rebounds last season, was expected to be the Huskies’ top player this season.
Washington was 0-3, including 0-1 in the Pac-12, heading into Wednesday’s game against Seattle University.
Carter was expected to join Melbourne United and play the 2020-21 season in the NBL’s Next Star program, an Australian developmental league. ESPN reported that the deal was rescinded after the investigations became public.