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Howell is fined, ordered to complete counseling

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina basketball center Rolando
Howell pleaded no contest to domestic violence charges Thursday and
was ordered to pay a $50 fine and complete a 26-week counseling
program.

Howell was arrested Aug. 9 at the apartment he shared with his
girlfriend, Mary Jones, who told deputies that he grabbed her neck,
pulled her hair and hit her in the face.

After he completes the domestic abuse counseling program and
pays the fine, his 30-day jail sentence will be suspended.

"I have apologized to the young lady," the senior said
Thursday. "And today I apologize to the public and loyal Gamecocks
supporters. I made a mistake ... and I am accepting responsibility
for my mistake."

Howell, who averaged 10 points and 6.3 rebounds a game last
season, was suspended from the Gamecocks after his arrest. Coach
Dave Odom said the school will review the situation and determine
Howell's status on the team.

The Gamecocks start the season against Gardner Webb on Nov. 17.