Former Cal State SB Hoop Star In Referee Capacity Sucker Punches Oak Hills Coach

An incident in which a local high school basketball coach was sucker punched by a former Cal State San Bernardino hoop standout-turned-referee during a hoops game last month is garnering unwanted national attention.
On Saturday October 28, the Oak Hills High School basketball team was competing against Arlington High’s five in a fall season game at Santiago High School in Corona.
According to witnesses and video footage of the game obtained by the Sentinel, Oak Hills High School head coach Rob Alexander took exception, it appeared, to at least two calls that Brandon Knapper made during the game’s second half. He yelled a verbal protest about at least one of those calls during the course of play prior to the incident, according to witnesses.
The video seen by the Sentinel, shot from an elevated vantage point behind the Oak Hills bench, was silent and the verbal altercation between Alexander and Knapper was therefore not audible.
The video depicts the ongoing game, as a player is seen going down beneath the basket at the closest goal to the camera and the ball bounces out of bounds beyond the goal. As another referee closer to that action retrieves the ball, Knapper can be seen walking along the sideline of the court near the Oak Bench. He approaches Alexander in a casual manner, and Alexander, standing just out of bounds near the bench, refocuses his attention from the action on the court to Knapper, who has come to stand directly in front of him. Knapper begins to engage verbally, it appears in a nonthreatening manner, with Alexander, who remains in an unguarded stance, with his hands on his hips, beginning, it seems, to be put his hands in his pockets. At that point, Knapper, who looks to be holding the whistle attached around his neck with his left hand, quickly and violently sucker punches Alexander with a straight across right. Alexander collapses at once, folding toward the ground slightly to his right, into a semi-sitting position on the bench, whereupon Knapper follows his first blow with at least two more downward punches and attempts at a third and a fourth, as what appears to be another Oak Hills coach who was seated on the bench attempts to press Knapper away from Alexander. Oak Hills players on the sideline begin to react and then swarm toward and over the two men, with one of the Oak Hills players punching Knapper in the head as Knapper is still seeking to unload punches on Alexander.
Thereafter, the players on the court as well as players from the opposing team across the court come toward the Oak Hills bench in what appears to be a frenzied melee.
Law enforcement was called and the game was discontinued.
Alexander was taken to a hospital, where he told officers he wanted to press charges against Knapper.
Knapper voluntarily surrendered at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department jail Sunday, and was charged with battery causing serious bodily injury and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, both felonies.
His bail was set at $25,000. He was released Wednesday. He had a court appearance this morning, but the Sentinel was not in attendance and was unable to obtain any information by press time.
Knapper was once a promising Division I college basketball player, but he has been unable so far to make the transition to the NBA.
He graduated from South Charleston High School in 2016. During the 2015-16 season at South Charleston High, playing for coach Vic Herbert, he averaged 28.5 points, 6.0 assists and 5.4 steals per game as a senior.
Rather than going directly to college, Knapper re-enrolled at the High School level, attending Hargrave Military Academy to sharpen his scholastic skills to be able to go to college and play basketball there. At Hargrave in 2016-17, he played for coach A.W. Hamilton.
In 2017-18, at West Virginia University, he redshirted as a freshman due to a knee injury.
Thus, he was considered a redshirt freshman in 2018-19, again at West Virginia University, playing in 32 games starting in four and averaging 5.0 points per contest while averaging 13.8 minutes per game.
In his redshirt sophomore year at West Virginia University in 2019-20, he played in 27 games and was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Second Team, while averaging 2.6 points per game. He scored five points against Kansas State and five points against Texas Christian University, 10 points and four rebounds in the win over No. 22 Texas Tech, eight points with two steals and a block in the win at Oklahoma State and five points in the win over No. 2 Ohio State.
In 2020-21 Knapper transferred to East Kentucky University, where he appeared in only four games but was impressive in those appearances, averaging 18.3 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from the floor and 31 percent on three-pointers.
He left college for a year and reportedly worked as a coach at Santiago High School in Corona. In 2022-23, as a redshirt senior, Knapper played guard at Cal State San Bernardino, where he was a member of the Division 2 California Collegiate Athletic Association All-West Regional team, named the California Collegiate Athletic Association player of the week for November 14 through 20, the 2023 All-West Regional Most Outstanding Player and was a member of the 2022 Hoops in Hawaii Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament Team. He reached 1,000 career points on January 1 against Cal Poly Pomona. He was named to the All-California Collegiate Athletic Association first team and was the 2022-23 Cal State University San Bernardino men’s student-athlete of the year.
The Hesperia Unified School District in a prepared statement characterized Knapper’s assault on Alexander as “senseless and shameful. The district is thankful for the swift and decisive action taken by the event promoters and local law enforcement. We are also happy to report that Coach Alexander is in good spirits and looking forward to returning to coaching and teaching as soon as possible.”

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