Missouri basketball players Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson denied charges by former teammate Ricky Clemons at a press briefing in Columbia Wednesday. In phone conversations taped at the Boone County jail this summer, Clemons indicated that assistant coaches Tony Harvey and Lane Odom paid him and other members of the basketball team. When asked if he was upset that Clemons would say that about him, Paulding answered, “A little, but, you know, people, are going to say things…that’s part of, you know, playing basketball and part of life.” When posed the same question, Johnson preferred to concentrate on Mizzou’s next game, “Can’t really talk about that right now. We could talk about Gonzaga.” Head coach Quin Snyder wouldn’t comment on whether or not he was mad at Clemons, but did say that he has talked to him since his release from jail in August and said he “offered him encouragement” and hopes he can “move forward”. Clemons was kicked off the team after breaking terms of his probation for falsely imprisoning former girlfriend Jessica Bunge. He was involved in an ATV wreck at the house of MU President Elson Floyd on July 4, hours after he was supposed to be back at a Columbia halfway house. In the phone conversations from the jail, Clemons said that going to the Floyd’s house was Odom’s idea and that a woman from the department drove him to the get-together. In the tapes Clemons talks to Amy Stewart, wife of Associate Athletic Director Ed Stewart and Carmento Floyd, President Floyd’s wife. In an article in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Stewart expressed her happiness with the bad press the program got over the summer, telling Clemons “I’m taking great pleasure. You’re taking them down”. Stewart referred to assistant coach Lane Odom as a “damn snake”. She also relayed a story to Clemons where her husband called members of the athletic department “crackers”. Floyd indicated that the relationship between her husband and Athletic Director Mike Alden turned frosty as a result of the Clemons mess. She said her husband didn’t feel Clemons got “due process” when he was kicked off the team.
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