Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday Where Are They Now?: Pierre Pierce

Ever wonder what happened to those college stars that couldn't catch on in the NBA? The guys that put up the great numbers or the guys that left early, and were never heard from again? Every Wednesday, we at BIAH will take a look at a former college star that never made it in the NBA, and we will update you on where he is playing or what he is doing. We're guessing the results will surprise you. To request a player, leave a comment in the comments section.

Pierre Pierce, Iowa

Pierre Pierce was as physically gifted as any player in the country during his three year stint at the University of Iowa. He was an explosive athlete with the scoring ability of a two guard but the handle of a point guard, and at 6'4" he was big enough that he could have been effective at either position in the NBA. He was also a tremendous defender both on the ball and off, with the toughness to mix it up inside on the boards. During his junior year in 2004-05, Pierce put up some fantastic numbers: 17.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.5 spg, while shooting 48% from the floor. But he only played 20 games that year because of some very serious off-the-court issues.

In 2002, when Pierce was a freshman, he was charged with third-degree sexual abuse after an incident involving a then-member of the Iowa women's team. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, was given a deferred judgement and eventually had the incident expunged from his record. In January 2005, Pierce was involved in a similar, but more violent, incident.
I'm not going to get into the details of the crime (they are pretty graphic), but essentially Pierce broke into the house of his 2 1/2 year girlfriend, threatened and assaulted her, and damaged the house and the belongings in it. Once then-Iowa head coach found out that Pierce was the main target of the investigation, he kicked Pierce off the team. In August of that year, Pierce pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary (which is a felony), assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, false imprisonment, and fourth-degree criminal mischief (all misdemeanors).

Pierce was sentenced to 2 years in prison, but ended up being released after 11 months because of good behavior and completion of the sex offender treatment program. He was released from prison in September of 2006, but still had to serve 49 months of probation, which would have ended in October of 2010. One of the terms of the probation was that he was not to leave the state of Iowa, where the crime was committed (it was later changed to the state of Illinois, because that is where Pierce's parents lived).

Pierce's time behind bars was not yet done. In the summer of 2007, he played with the Golden State Warriors summer league team, which just so happened to be in Las Vegas - probably not the best place be if you are on probation. He broke the terms of his probation numerous times (for things as small as downloading music and being on myspace to much bigger issues such as breaking curfew, going to a club without a chaperon, and "having sex with a woman he did not know the name of") and was sentenced to 30 days in prison in April of this year. He did, however, have some pretty impressive performances while he was playing in the summer league (read this TrueHoop post about him).

He didn't get signed to any teams that year (mainly because his probation would not let him), but this summer he signed with Hyeres Toulon Var Basket, a team in the top French basketball league, for $120,000. A week ago, an Iowa court decided to allow Pierce to break his probation and leave the country, which means that Pierce will finally be signed to a professional basketball team. With Hyeres Toulon, Pierce will be teaming with for Xavier Musketeers Drew Lavender and Anthony Myles, Austin Nichols of Humboldt State, and Darrell Tucker from San Francisco.

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