NCAA BK

Four Tennessee hoops players face drug, gun charges

Tyler Smith (AP)_20100101184408_JPG
Tennessee forward Tyler Smith (1), left, dribbles the ball next to Middle Tennessee guard J.T....
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.

Four Tennessee basketball players, including starting senior forward Tyler Smith, were charged with gun possession and other counts after a Friday traffic stop.

The Knoxville Police Department said Smith, 23, junior point guard Melvin Goins, 22, junior center Brian Williams, 22, and sophomore guard Cameron Tatum, 21, were arrested during a traffic stop for speeding near Tennessee's campus.

According to a police report, officers smelled marijuana coming from the car and found a handgun with an altered serial number, a bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol. Tatum was driving.

Officers could not determine whether any of the players were under the influence of marijuana, though the strong odor suggested marijuana had recently been smoked in the car, the police report said.

Tatum was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and having an open container of alcohol. Smith was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, which is a felony. Goins and Williams both face gun and drug possession charges.

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl announced that all four players would be indefinitely suspended from the team.

“I am deeply saddened and troubled by today’s news," Pearl said in the statement. "I apologize for the embarrassment this has caused to our University.”

It was not immediately clear if any of the players had attorneys.

The Volunteers won at Memphis 66-59 on Thursday afternoon and face Charlotte in Knoxville on Wednesday.

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