Jailhouse Jocks: Hall of Shame Activity Still Can't Ruin NCAA Basketball

Walk-on stories aren't always Rudy-like inspirational. Beneath its glitz and glamour, college basketball has a description-defying unruly rap sheet including Emanuel "Trai" Donaldson III, who was ordered held without bond following arrest by Tampa police after four separate shooting murders this past fall involving victims ranging in ages from 22 to 60.

A McDonald's manager received $110,000 reward for helping crack the case when coworker contacted police officer doing paperwork in restaurant after Donaldson asked her to hold bag containing loaded .40 Glock firearm while alleged serial killer went to nearby business to arrange a payday loan. Police said AT&T cellphone data put him in area of each killing and a hoodie seen in released surveillance videos was found in his Ford Mustang. Sports management major walked onto St. John's team during 2011-12 season when Red Storm coach Steve Lavin missed majority of year recovering from cancer surgery and only had seven scholarship players available. The 6-0 guard never played in a game for the program.

Three seasons later, Lavin's second-leading scorer and assists leader was Rysheed Jordan, who was arrested in early June 2016 and charged with attempted murder and robbery in a shooting in North Philadelphia. According to the police report, Jordan disposed of a gun with a scratched-off serial number while followed by officers. Entering dangerous terrain when comparing cancerous athletes to the public-at-large segment of our population, there is a seemingly congested intersection populating hot hoop prospects who become prime suspects. Rarely exposed to the rigid word "no," some of the hero worshiped think the world revolves around them and develop a sordid sense of "out-of-bounds" entitlement. Many of the misguided go from the brink of the pros to the clink put away.

"When you are among the high-flying adored, your view of the world becomes blurred," wrote psychologist Stanley Teitelbaum of the flouting-of-the-law behavior in the book "Sports Heroes, Fallen Idols: How Star Athletes Pursue Self-Destructive Paths and Jeopardize Their Careers."

"Off the field, some act as if they are above the rules of society; hubris and an attitude of entitlement become central to the psyche of many athletes. They may deny that they are vulnerable to reprisals and feel omnipotent and grandiose as well as entitled."

Far too many depraved derelicts can't resist and make the toxic transition from game-breakers to lawbreakers when seduced by the dark side. There have been a striking number of heart-breaking stories rocking the world of sports, derailing dreams and creating miscreants who are poster boys for bad behavior.

Idaho professor Sharon Stoll was not surprised when sports pages occasionally read like a police blotter focusing on 15 minutes of shame.

"In sport, we have moved away from honorable behavior," said Stoll, who operated the Center for Ethical Theory and Honor in Competitive Sports and conducted a 17-year study during which 72,000 athletes filled out questionnaires. "The environment of athletics has not been supportive of teaching and modeling moral knowing, moral valuing and moral action. Many of these young people have no sense of what is acceptable behavior."

It's unnerving when active or former narcissistic players go from the big time breaking ankles to the big house donning ankle bracelets. Infinitely more disconcerting is when deaths are involved amid the life and crimes. Despite some of the repulsive garbage, college hoops is too great a game to be ruined by moral malfeasance including a seven-footer from Duluth, Ga., reportedly recruited by Florida Gulf Coast, North Florida and Winthrop facing serious charges (robbery and assault with intent to commit a crime) in connection to the murder of a man this past fall.

The accompanying "Thugs R Us" summaries, including prominent Seton Hall player from North Philly for Lavin's Fox Sports colleague Bill Raferty, aren't designed to defile hoopdom. Actually, if college basketball can survive such unsavory incidents and classless ambassadors, it must be a helluva sport. At any rate, how many schools wouldn't be tainted if they had just embraced modest academic standards? What went awry for the following alphabetical list of slam dunkers who wound up in the slammer after murder/manslaughter probes?:

Richie Adams, UNLV (coached by Jerry Tarkanian) - A 1989 conviction for larceny and armed robbery led to a five-year prison term for the two-time Big West Conference Tournament MVP. Following his parole, Adams was convicted of manslaughter in September 1998 after being accused of stalking and killing a 14-year-old Bronx girl in a housing project where both lived. The girl's family said Adams attacked her because she rejected his advances. Adams, nicknamed "The Animal" because of his intense playing style, was considered a defensive whiz and led the Rebels in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots for their PCAA champions in 1983-84 and 1984-85. "I used drugs occasionally, when I wanted to do it," Adams said. "When I went to play basketball, if I needed a pain reliever, I would sniff some cocaine." His trouble with the law escalated in 1985, a day after he was drafted in the fourth round by the Washington Bullets, when the two-time All-PCAA first-team selection was arrested for stealing a car. In high school, Adams and several teammates allegedly stole their own coach's auto.

Clifford Allen, UNLV (Jerry Tarkanian) - November 1985 J.C. signee by the Rebels was sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading no contest to second-degree murder as part of a plea bargain in the 1989 death of a man in Milton, Fla. Allen, a native of Los Angeles, said in a recorded statement that he used a steak knife to kill a 64-year-old guidance counselor after the man allegedly made sexual advances in the counselor's trailer. Allen, driving the victim's auto when he was arrested, enrolled at several jucos and also reportedly considered an offer to play for Tim Floyd at New Orleans.

Justin "Spider" Burns, Cal State Fullerton (Bob Burton) - Two-year starter for the Titans (10.4 ppg and 6.7 rpg in 2005-06 and 2006-07; second-leading rebounder as junior and senior) was arrested in Jackson, Miss., in the spring of 2011 on a murder charge related to the strangulation slaying of his ex-girlfriend the previous fall. Her body was found by target shooters in a valley desert area under a pile of blackened rocks. According to Burns' arrest report, the brother of rapper Jason Douglas Burns (a/k/a WorldWideWebbb) was the last person to be seen with the West Covina, Calif., resident and had argued with her the night before she was killed after coming to Las Vegas to visit him. In the weeks after her burned body was found, his father (former UNLV player Michael "Spiderman" Burns) refused to cooperate with police about his son's whereabouts, the report said.

Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech (Paul Hewitt) - All-ACC third-team selection as a freshman in 2006-07 was sentenced to 23 years as part of a plea deal stemming from charges of murder and gang activity. Charged in late August 2011 after a woman was a drive-by shooting victim on a Southeast Atlanta street by someone inside a dark-colored SUV. The mother of four wasn't the intended target in what appeared to be retaliation for a $50,000 robbery of jewelry in the spring when Crittenton was a victim. Crittenton, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in late January 2010 and received probation, was suspended 38 games by the NBA after he and teammate Gilbert Arenas acknowledged bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room following an altercation stemming from a card game on a team flight. While out on bond, Crittenton was arrested in mid-January 2014 in a drug sting taking down more than a dozen persons accused of selling multiple kilos of cocaine and several hundred pounds of marijuana.

Carlton Dotson, Baylor (Dave Bliss) - J.C. recruit was sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to murdering Baylor roommate/teammate Patrick Dennehy with a hand gun in the summer of 2003. Dennehy, shot twice above the right ear, was New Mexico's leading rebounder (7.5 rpg) in 2001-02 under coach Fran Fraschilla before he was dismissed from the squad when Ritchie McKay succeeded Fraschilla. Dotson was arrested upon telling FBI agents he shot Dennehy after the player tried to shoot him. Bliss was fired by Baylor, the world's largest Baptist school, before reports surfaced about his direct involvement in a Hall of Shame coverup attempting to hide drug use and NCAA violations within his program by encouraging an assistant coach and Bears players to depict the slain Dennehy as a drug dealer.

Parish Hickman, Michigan State (Jud Heathcote)/Liberty (Jeff Meyer) - Spartans regular for three seasons before transferring and becoming Liberty's second-leading scorer and rebounder in 1992-93 pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 3-to-15 years in prison for the January 2001 murder of a Detroit man outside a Westside gas station. Acquitted after appearing before a federal judge on cocaine charges in the spring of 1991 following his on-campus arrest at MSU.

Baskerville Holmes, Memphis State (Dana Kirk) - A starting forward who averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Tigers' 1985 Final Four team, he was arrested twice for domestic violence. Later, Holmes, an out-of-work truck driver, and his girlfriend were found shot to death March 18, 1997, in an apparent murder-suicide in Memphis. He was 32.

LaKeith Humphrey, Kansas State (Lon Kruger)/Central Missouri State (Jim Wooldridge) - Sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder in the late November 2006 death of his former girlfriend, who was shot through her bedroom window about 3:40 a.m. in his hometown of Memphis. Humphrey, a J.C. recruit, averaged 12.6 ppg and 3.6 apg for K-State's NCAA playoff team in 1988-89.

Joeviair Kennedy, Western Michigan (Steve Hawkins) - Faced murder and armed robbery charges in the shooting death of a student at an off-campus apartment in December 2016 robbery where he and a co-defendant allegedly got marijuana, a cellphone and about $25. Kennedy, a 6-4 redshirt guard who averaged 3.1 ppg in eight contests, said a former Muskegon high school teammate pulled the trigger.

William Langrum II, McLennan County Community College TX - Starting power forward and H.S. teammate of Georgia Tech/NBA star Chris Bosh on Texas' 4A state championship club in 2002 (declared national champion by USA Today) faced life in prison after charged with capital murder in the fall of 2011 after a 50-year-old woman was stabbed to death in an apparent robbery outside her Dallas-area condominium as she returned from church. In the aftermath of killing her, Langrum and an accomplice went to a different portion of Dallas and began stalking another potential victim before police arrested them. Coincidentally, Bosh's mother was the subject of a drug trafficking probe in December 2017.

Leonel Marquetti, Southern California (Bob Boyd and Stan Morrison)/Hampton (Hank Ford) - Former McDonald's All-American was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder in a March 25, 2010, slaying in Plant City, Fla. Prosecutors portrayed Marquetti as a hoarder who was jealous of a wrongly-assumed relationship with an ex-girlfriend, a German-born dog breeder. Marquetti shot a white handyman four times - once as he faced him and three times as his victim lay facedown. Jurors also found him guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm and false imprisonment. The Los Angeles native averaged 4.8 ppg in 1978-79 and 1979-80 with USC before transferring.

Howard McNeil, Seton Hall (Bill Raftery) - Convicted at Norristown, Pa., in early February 1999 of third-degree murder in the stabbing death of a suspected prostitute. Police said the woman's skull was cracked when she was pushed into a wall before being stabbed to death. According to prosecutors, McNeil also stole a safe filled with drugs from the house. McNeil, an All-Big East Conference third-team selection as a junior in 1980-81, was found guilty of related drug and theft charges, but not convicted on more serious first- and second-degree murder charges. In 1976, he shot a friend in the head with a handgun at a Valentine's Day party, but was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and avoided jail.

Branden Miller, Montana State (Mick Durham) - Sentenced to 120 years in prison (100 for deliberate homicide, 10 for use of a weapon and 10 for tampering with evidence) after being charged with murder in late June 2006 in the shooting death of a suspected cocaine dealer whose body was found at the school's agronomy farm. Investigators said the murder weapon was one of two .40-caliber handguns Miller bought from a pawn shop two weeks before the incident. He was the Bobcats' third-leading scorer in 2004-05 before becoming academically ineligible.

Mike Niles, Cal State Fullerton (Bobby Dye) - After playing briefly with the Phoenix Suns, the enforcer for the Titans' 1978 West Regional finalist before being booted from the squad due to academic anemia was convicted in late January 1989 of hiring a man to murder his wife and served a life sentence without the possibility of parole. She died of a shotgun blast to the back of her skull from close range. The prosecution contended that Niles arranged to pay $5,000 to kill his wife, a prison guard, to collect $100,000 from a life insurance policy. A witness testified that Niles said he wanted his wife killed because she "messed me out" of money from basketball. The cycle of violence continued when his aspiring rapper son, Brandon, was buried at 17, the victim of a gunshot to the chest by a rival gang.

Stephen O'Reilly, North Florida (Matthew Driscoll) - Virgin Islands product who played briefly for UNF in 2009-10 was charged in the fatal stabbing of his roommate in Gwinnett County, Ga., in late March 2013.

Terry Pettis, Fresno State (Ray Lopes) - Sentenced to life in prison without parole for first-degree murder and armed robbery in the death of a junior college student who was behind the wheel of a car while her boyfriend sold marijuana in the seat next to her. Pettis had been arrested in his hometown of Minneapolis in May 2004 on charges of killing the woman when she tried to drive away during a botched drug robbery the previous month in Fresno, Calif., at a secluded lot near an apartment building. The crime was so grisly that the judge decided jurors couldn't see an autopsy photo showing the bullet's impact on the teenager's head. Pettis, a starting point guard for the Bulldogs in 2002-03 and 2003-04 before he was suspended for not completing a treatment program, pleaded no contest in September 2003 to misdemeanor vandalism and battery charges involving his girlfriend.

Andre Smith, Xavier (Skip Prosser) - Son of Tulsa All-American Bingo Smith was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence as part of a plea deal. Prosecutors say he used a survival tool that included a machete and a saw to kill his Russian teenage friend in May 2004 in his apartment complex. Andre played for the Musketeers in the mid-1990s.

Brett Studdard, Wyoming (Benny Dees) - J.C. recruit who averaged 4.3 ppg for the Cowboys in 1991-92 and 1992-93 shot his former girlfriend to death (once in the back and once in the head) before committing suicide in the fall of 2003 in Cobb County (Ga.). The altercation occurred two days after a permanent restraining order was issued prohibiting him from contacting the pharmacist.

Decensae White, Texas Tech (Bob Knight)/Santa Clara (Kerry Keating)/San Francisco State (Paul Trevor) - Arrested on a murder charge as part of an elaborate plot, including a Russian mobster, where a Louisiana rapper (Lil Phat) was killed in a revenge drive-by shooting the summer of 2012 in the parking deck of a hospital as his fiancee was preparing to give birth. White, extradited to Georgia in May 2013 before striking a deal with the prosecution, testified he was the one tracking Lil Phat's movements (after stealing 10 pounds of marijuana) via a GPS device installed in a rented white Audi vehicle. The vagabond hoopster averaged 4.7 ppg and 2.2 rpg for Texas Tech in 2006-07 and 2007-08, 3.4 ppg and 2.4 rpg in 10 games with Santa Clara in 2008-09 and team highs of 12.5 ppg and 7.1 rpg for San Francisco State in 2012-13.

Jayson Williams, St. John's (Lou Carnesecca) - All-Big East Conference second-team selection in 1988-89 pleaded guilty in January 2010 to aggravated assault and served 18 months in prison for accidentally killing a limousine driver in his bedroom. Williams, boasting 25 stitches above his right eye after being charged with drunken driving when crashing his SUV into a tree the previous week, was awaiting retrial on a reckless manslaughter count before pleading guilty to to the lesser count. He had been cleared by jurors in the spring of 2004 of aggravated manslaughter, the most serious charge against him, but was found guilty of four lesser charges. He faced 55 years in prison if convicted on all counts stemming from a February 14, 2002, shooting with a 12-gauge shotgun of a limo driver at his mansion and an alleged attempt to make the death look like a suicide. Williams was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter, but the jury deadlocked on a reckless-manslaughter count. Williams gave the driver's relatives $2.5 million to settle a civil suit. In late April 2009 following his wife filing for divorce claiming he was abusive, adulterous and had a drug problem, Williams was zapped with a stun gun by police in a lower Manhattan hotel suite after the reportedly suicidal athlete resisted attempts by officers to take him to a hospital. The next month, he was charged with assault after allegedly punching a man in the face outside a North Carolina bar, but charges were dropped.

Oscar Williams Jr., Utah State (Dutch Belnap) - The Aggies' assists leader in multiple categories from his mid-1970s exploits was sentenced to two life prison terms without the possibility of parole for the 1982 shooting death of his wife. Prosecutors contended that he murdered her to collect $220,000 worth of life insurance benefits after he failed in an effort to hire a contract killer. Toy Williams, a 24-year-old model, was shot at least five times in an alley near the couple's Las Vegas apartment after returning from her job at a nearby shopping mall.

Roy Williams, Cleveland State (Kevin Mackey and Mike Boyd) - J.C. recruit was suspended while facing a rape charge stemming from an on-campus incident at a fraternity party involving an honor student in early November 1990. He was questioned by California authorities the previous year about the suspicious death of a Compton College female student, whose body was found in the trunk of her gray Toyota car. Williams, the last person seen with her according to police, initially told investigators the student body vice president and peer counselor overdosed at a San Diego crack house the two had visited. In the spring of 1991, he pleaded innocent to charges of killing two young women and raping and attempting to strangle a third female. An attorney defending him threatened to sue over disclosure that his client was convicted of murder in California in 1981 when he was 14 and reportedly served nearly five years in California youth institutions.