(02/10/10) -- After winning its first two games, Saginaw High prepared to take on 0-3 Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard in the Motor City Roundball Classic at Detroit Country Day.

Major college coaches from all over the country were coming to the game to see Tommie McCune.

But McCune and two other starters, Marquavis Ford and Val McGee, were late to the Trojans' morning shoot around.

Coach Lou Dawkins told the trio they would not play in the game. "Listen to this text that Michigan State sent me earlier, and I'm gonna say exactly what they told me to tell you: 'That's crazy. I'm glad you told me,'" Dawkins read to his team. "'Coach DJ was coming down. We will just come late and watch Amir Williams play. Tell Tommie that we were coming and he (expletive) his teammates.'"

Turning to a member of the Trojans squad, Dawkins asked him to verify the message. "Is that what they say?"

The player nodded in response.

"I ain't playing. And I hope they clobber us tonight," Dawkins continued. "And when they do, I'm gonna point you out in the paper. Late (expletive) Tommie McCune was the reason we got beat. I'm gonna put you on Front Street. USA Today, FOX Sports, ABC 12."

"I'm trying to get Tommie for college. When he goes to college, they're gonna kick him out of school. I'm just trying to get him ready," Dawkins later told ABC12's Ryan Slocum.

With three starters on the bench, Saginaw fell behind by 6 points at halftime. "Do you see what I'm taking about? Do you see where I'm coming from now?" Dawkins asked his team.

Saginaw rallied in the third to take a 5-point lead late in the fourth quarter. The team faltered in the final minute, and lost for the first time 65-52 to an inferior team.

"It hasn't been right since the beginning. It hasn't. And they just won their state championship. They don't have to win another game this year," said Dawkins.

"When we lost, I swear I wanted to cry that night," junior forward McCune said.

"Until they understand what we need to do -- classroom, practice, minutes, study hall -- they're not gonna play. I don't care who they are. From this night on, if you are late coming into our gym, the most powerful high school in the state of Michigan, you will not play in the next game," Dawkins told the team after the game.

"Now you try me if you want to. And if you do it twice, you're cut. And I don't care who you are. I don't care who you are. I will cut your (expletive). I'm tired of ya, and I love you, but I'm tired. When that door open, you better go through it. From now on the knockout practice is gonna be knockout. I ain't got no starters no more. If you want it, go get it."

Thanks to Jon Connor for providing the soundtrack to this story.

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