Tuesday, January 8, 2008
New Mexico State still waiting for standout recruit
CORAOPOLIS, Pa. -- New Mexico State freshman Herb Pope has
waived his right to a preliminary hearing on a drunken driving
charge filed by police who say they found Pope passed out in a
running car on a western Pennsylvania highway.
The decision to waive Tuesday's hearing means Pope will be
scheduled to stand trial in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Officers found the 19-year-old Pope unresponsive in the driver's
seat with the engine running in the Pittsburgh suburb of Moon
Township on Dec. 28.
According to the criminal complaint, police had to pound on the
driver's side window with a flashlight and turn on a cruiser's
siren to awaken Pope. The car then lurched forward, bumping into
the police cruiser, and an officer then smashed the driver's side
window with a flashlight and turned off the ignition.
The 19-year-old Pope was heralded as "the highest profile
student athlete to ever sign with Aggie hoops," according to his
biography on the school's Web site. He had been academically
ineligible at New Mexico State before a New Mexico judge ordered an
end to the NCAA ban. The 6-foot-8 Pope has yet to play for the
The eligibility question focused on an alternative education
program Pope took in high school.
One of the nation's top recruits last season, he chose New
Mexico State over Cincinnati, Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland,
Memphis, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and Texas.
Defense attorney Arnie Klein said he doesn't know whether the
drunken driving case will affect Pope's playing status. Klein said
Pope is scheduled to return to New Mexico on Wednesday.
A New Mexico State spokeswoman declined comment Tuesday. The
school said earlier that Pope had been suspended indefinitely for
violation of university and team rules.
Pope, who is charged with driving under the influence, reckless
endangerment and a parking violation, is scheduled to be formally
arraigned on March 26.
In March, Pope was shot four times in Aliquippa. A Pittsburgh
man pleaded guilty to attempted homicide and was sentenced to six
to 16 years in prison last month.