Not a good couple of days for former college basketball players when it comes to the police blotter. First there was former Baylor walk-on Richard Hurd getting sentenced to 18 months for his attempt to extort money from Robert Griffin III.
Today it’s former Penn State forward Gyasi Cline-Heard, who was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.
Cline-Heard, the son of former NBA player and coach Gar Heard, played at Penn State from 1997 to 2001 and was a key member of the 2001 squad that reached the Sweet 16. For his career in Happy Valley, the 6-8 Cline-Heard averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
After playing overseas Cline-Heard opened a tattoo parlor in Tampa, but became involved in crack dealing in 2010 according to the plea agreement. According to the agreement he made six sales to an undercover detective.
The conspiracy involved acts of violence, and Cline-Heard admitted a “violent act” against another drug conspirator, according to a sentencing memorandum by defense attorney Grady Irvin.
Although Cline-Heard has not been charged in any murder, Irvin says in the sentencing memorandum that the defendant denies he had someone murder Clint Wilson, Heard’s partner in Cherry Bomb Tattoos. Wilson was shot near the New Port Richey business in 2009.
Gar Heard reportedly didn’t agree with his son’s decision to open a tattoo parlor back in 2009, and the arrest of Cline-Heard for selling drugs left him stunned according to the Tampa Tribune.
“It was not the type of business that I wanted him involved in, but Gyasi wanted to express himself through tattooing and felt as though this business was the way to do it,” Heard said to the paper. “This news has completely floored our family and I can’t understand what made him go in this direction.”
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.
In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.
If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.
Arizona State fans won’t get a chance to see Torian Graham take the floor this season, but he did sky over fellow teammates (and transfer) Shannon Evans on Friday night at the team’s Maroon and Gold Madness. The 6-foot-4 Graham is a former Buffalo commit — Evans also came from Buffalo — and both players will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Graham hasn’t had a chance to get into a Division I game, but he’ll be able to play for the Sun Devils next season. For now, fans can look forward to Graham’s athleticism on the wing in pregame dunk routines.
A former top-100 prospect, Graham also pulled off this ridiculous move in the dunk contest.