By Brian McInnis
Hawaii hoops fans got some pretty shocking news from the Big Apple on Friday morning. Former Rainbow Warriors point guard Shaquille Stokes, and three other Hofstra teammates, were arrested for an alleged series of burglaries on the Hofstra campus.
Stokes, now a sophomore, had emerged as a key member of the Pride, averaging 10 points and 2.6 assists per game.
The former New York City player of the year out of storied Lincoln High was charged with multiple second-degree burglaries and has pled not guilty. He's also suspended from the team and university.
UH coach Gib Arnold heard about it soon after the 'Bows arrived in Las Vegas on Friday morning for their Saturday game at No. 24 UNLV.
The focus on the local newscast Arnold saw there was on Kentrell Washington, one of the four arrested, who hails from Las Vegas. But there was Stokes' mugshot to see, along with the rest.
"It sounds like it's an unfortunate situation," Arnold said. "I don't have all the details, so I don't feel it's appropriate for me to (comment further) on … alleged allegations."
My take: It's a lot to take in about someone who could easily still be playing hoops at UH right now. This story spread pretty fast on national news media, including word from police detective Ray Cote that Stokes registered some of the stolen goods in his name, which blew the whole case open (scroll down).
It certainly appears, from what's out there right now, that Stokes is at the heart of this criminal case. But everyone should allow the facts come to light (and rest assured, there will be much more to come out) before making any sweeping judgment on him.
When he left UH, it wasn't because he was a bad egg. He was wanted back, but he said at the time he needed to be closer to his family and ailing grandmother.
Unfortunately for UH, many news outlets are running information on Stokes after the description "a transfer from the University of Hawaii."
It's true that Stokes hails from a rough neighborhood — Harlem — and was back in his home city. We can speculate that he might have fallen in with the wrong crowd, but speculation is all that would be.
Bottom line: Am I surprised that he'd participate in something so brazenly stupid as walking into dorm rooms and snatching up electronics? Yes. Who wouldn't be?