Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 2/4/12
Arizona assistant coach Joe Pasternack issued a statement attempting to explain his interaction with California forward Jorge Gutierrez in a game Thursday night, although it stopped short of an apology. Pasternack appeared to kick Gutierrez as he jumped into the Arizona bench area while trying to retrieve a loose ball with 4:45 remaining in Arizonas 78-74 victory in Berkeley. As Gutierrez returned to the court, he immediately pointed at Pasternack and had to be held back by Cal teammates. I would like to clarify that my actions (Thursday) night were a reflex in response to a player falling on top of me while running at top speed toward our bench. Prior to my arrival at Arizona and as a former head coach and assistant coach for eight season at the University of California, I have great respect for the Pac-12 Conference, the Cal program and Jorge Gutierrez and the competitiveness he brings to the court, Pasternacks statement read. In no way was I deliberately attempting to engage him. My hope is that this statement will clear up any misconceptions about the incident and that we can move on in a positive fashion. No foul was called on the play, although both Arizona coach Sean Miller and Cal coach Mike Montgomery talked to Gutierrez after the incident. Gutierrez was not made available after the game, but Cal forward Harper Kamp told the Arizona Daily Star that Gutierrez believed the kick was deliberate. Gutierrez "felt Coach P said something and extended his leg and tried to kick him. Something like that. I know they are both passionate guys," said Kamp, who attended Mesa Mountain View. Pasternack, in his first season at Arizona, was the head at New Orleans from 2007-11 after serving the previous six years as an assistant coach at Cal. Gutierrez, from Chihuahua, Mexico by way of Las Vegas (Nev.) Findlay Prep, did not cross paths with Pasternack at Cal, signing with the Bears in May, 2008. Gutierrez, a 6-foot-3 senior and top candidate for Pac-12 player of the year, had 18 points, six rebounds and three assists Thursday. It was Cals first home loss of the season and dropped the Bears into second place in the Pac-12.
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