Posted on: September 20, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 5:00 pm

George Mason, UCLA backcourts get suspensions

By Matt Norlander

Didn't want to let Tuesday afternoon slip me by without getting on record here at the blog a couple of stories that deserve to be spread.

George Mason and UCLA have seen starting members of their basketball teams get in trouble with the law in the past few days. We'll start with Mason, which will most likely start the season without junior guard Andre Cornelius (right). He was busted for credit card fraud and larceny Friday. The team has indefinitely suspended him.

According to the university’s police department incident record, the 22-year-old Cornelius was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and released on $1,500 bond.

“Cornelius has been summarily suspended from the team as a result of the charges filed against him,” the school said in a statement. “The suspension will be in effect until the legal and University judicial processes have been completed.”

Enter your pithy commentary about the plight of players here if you must, but there's never an excuse or reason good enough for that kind of petty crime. Cornelius was a starter in every game for the Patriots last season, with an effective field goal percentage of 53.7 (pretty good). Paul Hewitt, the first-year coach at Mason and former Georgia Tech head man, gets an early crack at discipline. How hard will he hit one of his best players?

He and the school well let the legal process play out until a decision is made, but this lack of judgment probably calls for a few games on the pine, I'd think. At least if Hewitt wants respect from his team in the early going.

As for UCLA, Ben Howland had some good news and bad news with Andersons on Monday. He couldn't be happier, I'm sure, that the Kyle Anderson's commitment Monday night came shortly after the school announced Jerime Anderson would be suspended two games for his involvement in laptop theft in late July.

The defined suspension comes after he was indefinitely suspended -- and in the offseason, what does that really mean? C'mon. -- by Howland soon after his arrest.

Anderson won't play in the team's exhibition on Nov. 6 against Cal State San Bernadino. He'll also be out for the first real game of the season, the Nov. 11 matchup against Loyola Marymount at home. From the AP:

Howland said Monday that Anderson has been "very remorseful" in admitting his mistake and accepting responsibility for his actions. Anderson pleaded guilty last week to charges of appropriation of lost property and trespass. His attorney, Jon Artz, says the plea agreement was based on evidence demonstrating Anderson's good conduct and moral character from community members.

Anderson must complete 300 hours' community service in a two-year period to have the plea of appropriation of lost property withdrawn. The misdemeanor charge of trespass would stand.

Heavy community service, certainly. A bad look for Anderson, who is a junior with decent defensive and passing skills. One real game isn't much a punishment. Given all that was levied against him, few could make a case against Howland if he wanted to sit Anderson for three or four games. But so few coaches actually have the courage to do that these days. We'll see if Hewitt bucks the trend soon enough.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:08 pm

UCLA suspends Jerime Anderson

By Matt Norlander

The UCLA Bruins have indefinitely suspended senior guard Jerime Anderson.

The announcment was made Wednesday afternoon on the heels of Anderson's arrest Tuesday night. What's certain is Anderson will be out for the team's opener, on Nov. 11, a home game against Loyola Marymount.

Here's the entirety of the school's statement, which details Anderson getting cuffed Tuesday night on campus:
UCLA men's basketball player Jerime Anderson has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities and at least the 2011-12 season-opener against Loyola Marymount (Nov. 11) following his arrest Tuesday (July 26) evening. Anderson, a senior point guard, was arrested on campus by University Police and was charged with suspicion of grand theft in connection with the theft of a laptop.

"This is a disappointing and unfortunate situation for Jerime," said head coach Ben Howland. "We have a high standard and code of conduct that our student-athletes are expected to follow. He knows that he has made a huge mistake and that he has not represented himself, our program or UCLA in a manner that is required." Anderson's status with the team will be re-evaluated as the legal process continues.
Another stolen-laptop case. What is it with college athletes and this affliction? Anderson, who averaged 5.1 points per game last season, is one of the most reliable 3-point shooters Howland has.

What's interesting to point out in this case is Howland's immediate reaction to the arrest. Unlike, say, Jim Boeheim, who has chosen to lay low while Fab Melo's legal battle drifts out over a domestic disturbance case. Some coaches choose to make decisions immediately. I give credit to Howland for going with this choice first and leaving almost every possibility for further punishment open. Not an easy -- or even necessary -- call to make right now. But Howland, who is on the recruiting trail as we speak, made the decision immediately.

Consider it a message from afar that was heard loud and clear by all of his players.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 1:59 pm

Jamal Coombs-McDaniel transfers to Hofstra

By Jeff Goodman and Matt Norlander

UConn transfer Jamal Coombs-McDaniel told CBSSports.com he has committed to Hofstra.

The 6-foot-6 sophomore, who averaged 5.6 points for the national champions last season, informed Hofstra coach Mo Cassara on Wednesday.

"I had a great visit there a week ago and just felt it was the right fit for me," he said. "I love the coaching staff, playing in New York and the success of Charles Jenkins were all important for me." 

Coombs-McDaniel will be reunited with former UConn assistant Pat Sellars – who was brought on by Cassara earlier this month. Coombs-McDaniel will finish out classes in the summer at UConn, head to Hofstra – where he will sit out this season and have two more years of eligibility.

Cassara, who lost Jenkins to graduation, will now build around transfers Stevie Mejia (Rhode Island) and Coombs-McDaniel. Hofstra is also among the leaders for Penn State transfer Taron Buie.

But that's not the only Coombs-McDaniel-related news of the day.  (Reading that sentence looks so bizarre.) The Hofstra guard will also be doing some image repair.

The sophomore will do some time in a drug education program, according to the Associated Press. This is a move being made with good intentions, but it's also being done to save face, as Coombs-McDaniel was attempting to land at a new school in the past few weeks.

Attending a few classes, mandated by the State's Court, will go some way toward Hofstra and its student body, coaches, administrators, etc. accepting him as a changed man.
The Rockville Superior Court order Wednesday requires Coombs-McDaniel to take 10 drug education classes and perform 75 hours of community service. The charges will be dismissed if he complies with the requirements.
He gets the charges taken off his record and moves on with his life. A nice deal to be cut.

The irony in all of this is that McDaniels not only was a victim of bad judgment, but also bad timing. Had his pot bust come a few months later, instead of in the wake of Connecticut's championship in mid-April, none of this would be happening, and he might still be a part of UConn's team. (Though he and Jim Calhoun have said this charge had nothing to do with him leaving.)

Connecticut recently passed a law that lightens punishment for marijuana possession, specifically, no arrests and lighter fines if a person is caught with a half-ounce or less of the drug. Coombs-McDaniel was busted for 5.6 grams of pot on April 21, which comes out to .12 ounces, well under the new guidelines. The law goes into effect in Connecticut on July 1.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 14, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 1:53 pm

Fab Melo's court date delayed

By Matt Norlander

One of the bigger offseason stories that isn't getting as much attention as it should is the saga with Fab Melo at Syracuse. The Orange sophomore's appearance in Syracuse City domestic court has been pushed back to June 23, according to the Post-Standard. It was originally scheduled for today, June 14.

The details of why the date was pushed back were not reported.

Melo was arraigned in court June 1 for an incident that took place at his girlfriend's house in late May. The details and allegations from that incident are ugly and don't put Melo in any sort of positive light. In fact, they make the highly touted Brazilian center look petty, jealous and possibly chemically imbalanced.

More background: an off-record source told CollegeHoopsJournal.com Melo has been plagued by anger issues since he arrived on campus last fall.

No matter, the detailed incident at hand is unsettling and something Syracuse athletics is no doubt looking at right now. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim hasn't spoken on the record about Melo's current ordeal, which is no surprise, considering it's an ongoing legal mater.

The outcome of Melo's case could eventually have an effect on the sophomore center's situation with the basketball team, but we may not have an answer on that for a few more weeks, or longer, depending on what the courts decide and then what Boeheim does afterward.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 17, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 5:24 pm

Former Wake players accused in '09 sexual assault

Posted by Matt Norlander

A former Wake Forest student is determined to tell her story of alleged sexual assault. The student claims the incident was a collaborated effort from two Demon Deacon basketball players on March 19, 2009, the night before Wake Forest lost to Cleveland State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

No charges were filed; a lack of physical evidence was determined to be the reason. The players involved in the incident claim it was a consensual act, according to the report with Miami Police, which was filed nearly two months after the incident occurred.

A story Tuesday afternoon from the Winston-Salem Journal identifies former Demon Deacon Gary Clark (right) as the player who committed sexual assault inside a hotel room, while the other, Jeff Teague, watched and kept guard outside the room, according to the victim. Teague currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks. The assault, according to the police report, consisted of the victim unwillingly performing oral sex on Clark.
The student returned to North Carolina and didn’t tell anyone until two days later. She told a friend, who insisted she report it to Wake Forest campus police. Detective James Rae of the Wake Forest Campus Police did an investigation and forwarded statements he got from Teague, Clark and another man to the Miami Police Department, the report said. ...

After the investigation was completed, the police consulted with prosecutor Laura Adams in June 2009. Adams eventually decided against filing criminal charges because there was no physical evidence and corroborating witnesses, the student didn’t report the allegations immediately to police, and Clark denied the allegations, according to the police report.

“In light of the above facts and circumstances, the State would not be able to satisfy its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” the police report said.

CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish confirmed early Tuesday the details of the Winston-Salem Journal report. This has become news due to the fact the victim is set to go on NBC's "Today Show" Thursday and tell her story, speaking on behalf of the National Coalition of Against Violent Athletes. 

The alleged incident and the saga it has created more than two years later has caught the attention of Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, who responded to the allegations in a letter.

"Regarding this matter, I must emphasize that Federal law (FERPA) prevents the University from discussing specifics of this or any other student case," Hatch's letter reads. "I can assure you the University takes these issues seriously, has a well-established Code of Conduct and has procedures for hearing alleged violations of that Code of Conduct. In addition, Wake Forest offers significant resources to support our students in times of need. Fostering a positive and respectful living and learning environment is of paramount importance at Wake Forest University. As part of our Pro Humanitate mission we strive to treat all of our students with integrity and compassion. Rest assured that the University is taking appropriate action to respond to this matter."

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 16, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 3:48 pm

Chace Stanback arrested on suspicion of DUI

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The honeymoon period for new UNLV head coach Dave Rice is over.

Chace Stanback was arrested Friday in Las Vegas on suspicion of DUI. Stanback was in Vegas for the start of summer classes.

“We do know that there was an incident, and we are trying to determine what happened and what transpired,” Rice said Monday morning, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Stanback is the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Runnin’ Rebels, who lose guards Tre’Von Willis and Derrick Jasper from last year’s NCAA tournament team.

The 6-foot-8 small forward averaged 13.0 points and 5.9 rebounds last season. He began his career at UCLA, but transferred to UNLV following his freshman campaign in Los Angeles.

Rice took over at head coach for the Rebels after Lon Kruger left in early April for Oklahoma. He had previously been the associate coach at BYU, joining the Cougars' staff in 2005. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at UNLV, serving under four different head coaches.

His disciplinary tactics will be tested with Stanback, who was suspended for one game last season for academic reasons. 

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Legal, Police, UNLV
Posted on: May 11, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: May 11, 2011 11:16 am

Young coach sets precedent with harsh punishment

Posted by Matt Norlander

Robert Morris head coach Andrew Toole had to make the toughest call of his brief coaching career last week. Toole, 30, the youngest Division I coach in the game, made a decision many other coaches wouldn't: he suspended his best player for a year after a repeat incident with alchohol.

Karon Abraham (at left in the photo) is the speedster point guard for RMU. He averaged 13.9 points and w a a 43-percent 3-point shooter last year. Without him, it's entirely plausible to assume the Colonials wouldn't have made the past two Northeast Conference title games.

But next year, the team will attempt to get back to the NEC finals without him, as Toole, along with Robert Morris' athletic director and student life officials at the university came to the conclusion Abraham had to be kicked off the team for a year after he was cited with underage drinking nearly two weeks ago. It was Abraham's second such offense under Toole's tenure.

I spoke with Toole this morning about his decision and more about the incident. Abraham will be put on ice for a year because, less than six months ago, the point guard was arrested on four counts of alcohol-related incidents while being cuffed for a DUI while driving a borrowed Lexus. It was a startling start to Toole's career at Robert Morris. The incident caused Abraham to miss a handful of games last season. It put Toole in a tough position. He's young, ambitious as any young coach should be -- and doesn't want to endure a bad year in a low-major conference.

But this was clearly about sending a message. His primary message being people “just understanding this is not about trying to hurt Karon, but trying to help him be successful,” Toole said. “Some would call it a severe suspension or penalty, but I think it was the right decision and we hope everyone realizes this is for the betterment of Karon.”

It took about 10 days for Toole and others involved in the decision to come to a verdict. Once they did, Toole didn't want to make a phone call -- he told Karon the news to his face. The point guard accepted his punishment.

"It’s obviously a difficult decision because, the part of you that’s a basketball coach, you want to have the most talented players on the floor at all times, and Karon’s obviously a talented player," Toole said. "But the other half of you realizes that to be successful not only to in basketball but also in life, you’ve got to make great choices. Talent only gets you to the D-I level; what you do with the opportunity comes next. Unfortunately, some of the those actions have suspended his ability to take part of that for a year and that’s unfortunate. As much as you try and consistently educate your guys about making the right choice and having the privilege of being a D-I athlete and receiving a scholarship, you have to take measures that smack them in the face with the reality that this is isn’t something to be expected of a D-I athlete. You can't do this and still get to play in games."

Toole added that, since this is the second time, all matters related to basketball quickly became muted because, "you start to worry about a trend and Karon overall as a human being."

Next season, Abraham will only be a student on campus. He will not practice with the team or sit on the bench during games. He will not be on scholarship, either; he'll most likely pay for his year's worth of education through student loans. Through this, Toole does hope and expect to hear from Abraham often. He won't babysit, though. He wants Abraham to make as much of an effort to remain in contact with the team and coaching staff, and vice versa.

"It will all be about communication," Toole said. "We’re going to have to continue to do that with Karon even though we’re not going to see him on a day-to-day basis."

And if any other run-in with the law happens, it's absolutely a three-strikes-you're-done situation.

"If it were even to get to that point, I don’t even think that will be in my hands,” Toole said, alluding to the fact the university will ultimately the call, and that call would most likely be a removal from the team and the school.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Police
Posted on: April 30, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 1:21 pm

Dodson done at Southern Miss after alleged theft

Posted by Matt Norlander

Former Kentucky player Darnell Dodson is now former Southern Miss miscreant after an alleged theft from a USM Sigma Nu fraternity house, as well as from vehicles outside the residence.

Dodson (pictured right, in 2010; there are no pictures of him in a Southern Miss uniform because he transferred to the school less than four months ago), was kicked off the team Thursday after it became known he's a bit of a kleptomaniac. Or, at least, allegedly a kleptomaniac.
USM police chief Bob Hopkins said today that Dodson was arrested along with Cory Markell Smith, a former member of the Southern Miss and William Carey basketball teams. The two men both face charges of auto burglary and residential burglary, which are felony charges.
Instead of letting the legal process play out, Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy had an extensive eight-word statement on the matter: "Darnell Dodson has been dismissed from the team."

The shorter the statement, the worse it is, normally. Dodson will get no second chance here. And now he'll be looking for his fourth college team in three years. (Dodson started at Miami Dade Community College.) Finding a Division-I landing spot probably isn't that likely. He was once a highly touted recruit, but multiple run-ins with the law will scare off pretty much any program. His talent isn't so great that is affords him chance after chance after chance.

This is the second dust-up with the law in less than a year for Dodson, who was kicked off Kentucky's team last summer, and in October, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Final thought the lingers: Frat-house theft? There are a lot of low college crimes, but does it get more petty or desperate than stealing from a bunch of bros?

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Police
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com