Aztec Hoops Star Suspended After Being Arrested for Burglary

Player pleads not guilty to criminal charge

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San Diego State basketball coach Steve Fisher has indefinitely suspended senior forward Lorrenzo Wade, who pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of stealing a television from a woman's home.

Fisher suspended Wade two weeks ago but the school didn't announce it until Wednesday, the day after Wade was in court. Wade has not participated in any team activities the past two weeks and will not practice or participate in team workouts.

"I have heard his side of the story. I knew that he was going to be charged yesterday," Fisher told The Associated Press on Wednesday evening. "I know that he pleaded not guilty but it's something that I take very seriously. Not only am I disappointed, I'm angry."

Wade was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference pick last season, when he was San Diego State's leading scorer with an average of 14.8 points. He was named to the preseason All-MWC team on Tuesday.

Wade was released on bail after pleading not guilty to first-degree burglary of an inhabited dwelling in San Diego Superior Court. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.

Police say a woman in an apartment in the city's College district woke to the sound of knocking at her door on Sept. 21, then heard people enter the apartment. She waited until the intruders left, then went outside and confronted Wade and his companion.

Wade, who lives in the same apartment complex as the woman, turned himself in to police on Oct. 7.

Wade's attorney, Richard Muir, insisted his client didn't take the television. He said he knocked on the door to see if she could move her car.

"He should not have walked into the apartment. He had not been invited. He was wrong in doing that," Muir said. "He's a good kid. He's never been in trouble before. We hope to resolve this favorably and get him back into the basketball program, if everyone has their ducks in order."

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.

Fisher said Wade is a good person.

"This particular episode doesn't appear to make it look that way, but to my knowledge he's never had any difficulties or run-ins with the law," he said.

Fisher has suspended or dismissed several players since taking over at San Diego State in March 1999, including booting Evan Burns and Wesley Stokes for academic reasons.

"I constantly preach, 'Don't let this be you. Don't let this be bulletin board material where they're talking about you,'" Fisher said. "It's distasteful."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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