Former Connecticut Star Enters Drug Program to Avoid Prison

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Former University of Connecticut forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel entered a drug education program administered by that state June 15, according to reports.

According to the Associated Press, Superior Court Judge Laura F. Baldini approved Coombs-McDaniel's application for a drug program offered to first-time offenders. Should Coombs-McDaniel complete all 10 assigned drug education classes, along with 75 hours of community service, the charges of drug possession against him will be expunged from his record.

Coombs-McDaniel was arrested and charged in April after police caught him on campus with 5.6 grams of marijuana, a marijuana grinder and pack of cigars in his possession, according to ESPN. Connecticut recently passed a law that decriminalizes possession of a half-ounce of marijuana, making it a mere infraction that would result in only a $150 fine. But that law does not go into effect until July 1, and Coombs-McDaniel was charged under the current law, which could have led to possible jail time. He said he apologized to his teammates for his actions.

“The team knows I'm sorry, and the coaching staff knows and that's what really matters to me,” Coombs-McDaniel said. “If they've accepted it, so should everybody else. I had a good ride at UConn, and I know they are going to have a great season next year.

The 6-foot, 7-inch junior forward played in every game for the Huskies this season, including the National Championship, scoring 5.6 points per game, along with 2.4 rebounds as a reservist. But he told the AP that he will transfer to either Missouri or Hofstra once his one-year suspension from the NCAA is lifted, with hopes of earning more playing time.

Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun acknowledged that Coombs-McDaniel will not return to the school next semester, but wished him well.

“He was a very important part of our national championship this season,” Calhoun said, “and I know is capable of great success in the future.”