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Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Updated: December 3, 11:37 AM ET
Team has litany of brushes with law

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Portland Trail Blazers forward Zach Randolph has been charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants after an arrest early Tuesday by a police officer who said he smelled marijuana in Randolph's car, authorities said.

Zach Randolph

The Trail Blazers did not take any immediate disciplinary action against Randolph, who leads the team in points and rebounds this season, and were awaiting results of tests taken by police.

Randolph was stopped about 12:30 a.m. in north Portland by an officer who "noted a strong odor of burning marijuana coming from the vehicle," said Sgt. Cheryl Robinson, a Portland Police Bureau spokeswoman.

Randolph was also cited for failure to drive within a lane, for not having an Oregon driver's license and for driving without insurance, Robinson said.

Randolph practiced with the Trail Blazers on Tuesday at the team's facilities in suburban Tualatin, but left the court before reporters were allowed in.

The latest trouble with the Trail Blazers comes as they prepare to host the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night at the Rose Garden Arena.

"Until we get all the facts, we can't respond," team President Steve Patterson said. "Certainly if it turns out that the tests are not what we'd like to see, then, as I said, there will be consequences. And we will deal with that over the next couple of days as we try to gather all the information."

Patterson said it was his understanding that Randolph did not need an Oregon driver's license, because he is a resident of Indiana.

Patterson also said that Randolph has insurance, and that he had produced proof of coverage to authorities.

Randolph was taken to the Multnomah County jail, where he was "very cooperative with our deputies, (saying) 'Yes sir, no sir,'" said Multnomah County sheriff's Lt. Mike Shults. "He went through it without any incident."

Randolph was released from jail at 5:13 a.m., Shults said.

The misdemeanor charge carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine, if convicted, Shults said.

Arraignment was set for Dec. 30 in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Randolph, who became a starter this season, is averaging 20.7 points and 11.2 rebounds a game to lead the team.

"It's a shame because he's playing at such a high level," said Jerome Kersey, a former Blazer and currently three team's director of player programs. "You don't want anything to take away from that."

Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said he tries to remind his often troubled team that they are responsible for their actions.

"You've got to try to help them. You can't just walk away and say `This is too much," Cheeks said. "It's not an option."

Arrests and infighting have plagued the Blazers in the past few seasons. Most recently, Bonzi Wells was stripped of his co-captaincy and suspended for two games after cursing at Cheeks.

Wells was also fined by the team for making an obscene gesture at a fan at a home game against the Philadelphia 76ers early last month.

Another player, Damon Stoudamire, faces marijuana charges in Arizona following an offseason arrest at an airport. The Blazers initially suspended and fined Stoudamire, but he was later reinstated to the team after voluntarily undergoing treatment.

Last season, Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace were both cited in Washington state on marijuana charges. Both agreed to attend drug and alcohol counseling, and stay out of legal trouble for a court-specified period of time. Wallace also paid a $650 fine.

Also last season, Ruben Patterson's wife called 911 to report domestic abuse. Shannon Patterson later asked prosecutors not to pursue the charges.

Qyntel Woods was cited in late March for marijuana possession. He later pleaded innocent to the drug charges, but paid small fines for driving while uninsured and without a license.

Randolph was involved in a scuffle during practice late last season. He punched Patterson in the face, breaking his eye socket, and was suspended for two games by the team. Randolph also pleaded guilty last year in his Indiana hometown to a charge of underaged drinking.

During the offseason, the Blazers made an effort to repair their tarnished image. They hired Patterson and a new general manager, John Nash, when Bob Whitsitt resigned.

Owner Paul Allen vowed that the Trail Blazers would be a team that Portland could be proud of. And the team released a 25-point pledge to fans that included a promise to hold players "accountable for their actions both on and off the court."

Stoudamire, who has been in the same situation, called the incident unfortunate for both Randolph and the team.

"Hopefully he'll learn from it and move forward," Stoudamire said. "I know how he's feeling, I know where he's been, and I just want to be there for him."