|Duquesne suspends Baldonado following drug conspiracy charge|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 04 September 2007 18:29|
Baldonado was one of five Duquesne University students shot Sept. 17 after an on-campus dance. The 6-foot-7 player was shot in the arm, where the bullet severed an artery in his left elbow and then traveled through his back and just missed his spine.
Baldonado, 22, was arrested Friday in Pittsburgh and charged with criminal conspiracy involving the manufacture, delivery or possession of a controlled substance, according to online records of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A hearing in the case was scheduled for Wednesday.
A Pittsburgh police operator said late Tuesday that no one was available to provide more information on the arrest.
Coach Ron Everhart said Tuesday in a news release that the university had suspended Baldonado due to an apparent violation of the university's code of student rights, responsibilities and conduct. He but did not say what prompted the suspension.
``Our basketball players are held to the same standard of accountability as the general student population,'' Everhart wrote. ``We fully expect them to adhere to university policies and procedures at all times.''
The university did not immediately return a call Tuesday night seeking further comment on the news release.
Baldonado, a native of Colombia, was Duquesne's top recruit a year ago but sat out the season after being shot. He was a junior transfer from Miami-Dade Community College in Florida.
He told The Associated Press in an interview last month that he felt lucky to be alive. After the shooting, a teammate applied a tourniquet to his badly bleeding arm while another drove him to a nearby hospital.
Baldonado could have bled to death without immediate help.
``I'm still out there hitting, banging around, so I feel like I'm still there. I still got that toughness in me,'' he said. ``I've been doing good, so I know I've recovered a lot. I'm out of shape a little bit, but I know by the time the season starts that coach Everhart will have me in pretty good shape.''
In April, Baldonado filed a lawsuit alleging that Duquesne failed to provide proper security at the school party that preceded the shootings. The two men accused of shooting at the players were not Duquesne students.
The suit also alleges that the shootings caused severe and permanent injuries that will affect Baldonado's ability to make a living as a pro basketball player, either in the NBA or overseas.
Baldonado is not seeking specific damages from the university. Neither of the suspects in the shooting was named as a defendant.
A message left for Teresa Toriseva, Baldonado's lawyer in the civil case, was not immediately returned Tuesday night.
Over the Labor Day weekend, the Dukes played four games in Toronto. But Baldonado was unable to accompany the team because of an apparent passport problem that prevented him from traveling to Canada.