UT basketball players suspended for drugs, weapons charges

UT basketball players suspended for drugs, weapons charges

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6 Sports Director

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Four University of Tennessee basketball players facing drug and weapons charges have been suspended from the team indefinitely.

Tyler Smith, Brian Williams, Melvin Goins and Cameron Tatum were arrested by Knoxville police shortly before noon on Friday.

According to a police report, a Knoxville Police officer stopped a car for speeding. The officer reported smelling a "strong odor of marijuana" as he spoke with the driver.

The officer requested back-up and a K-9 unit. After the dog alerted officers to the presence of marijuana, the vehicle was searched.

Knoxville police said they found a handgun under the driver seat, a handgun with an altered serial number under the passenger seat, a baggy of marijuana, and an open container of alcohol.

The police report says Tatum was the driver and faces a weapon and unlawful container charge. Originally, police said Smith and Williams would face felony weapons charges. But, Judicial Commissioner Robert Cole tells 6 News the pair will face misdemeanor weapons charges. Goins faces a weapons charge and a drug possession charge. All four players bonded out of jail Friday night.

Vols Head Coach Bruce Pearl issued a statement saying, "I am deeply saddened and troubled by today's news. I am indefinitely suspending Melvin (Goins), Tyler (Smith), Cameron (Tatum) and Brian (Williams) from all team activities until we have more information about today's incident. I apologize for the embarrassment this has caused to our University."

Tennessee beat cross-state rival Memphis on Thursday. Smith, the 2007 SEC Player of the Year, scored 12 points in the 66-59 win over the Tigers. Goins, a junior college transfer guard, scored 8. Williams and Tatum are key contributors off the bench.

Smith passed-up an opportunity to make himself eligible for the NBA draft after last season, electing to return to Tennessee for his senior season. 

Pearl did not address the status of the players for two upcoming games.

The Vols next game is against Charlotte on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee hosts Number One Kansas on Sunday, Jan. 10. 

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