Former Iowa Hawkeyes and current Tennessee Volunteers basketball player Tyler Smith was arrested today on drug and weapons charges, along with three other Tennessee basketball players.
Smith, Cameron Tatum, Melvin Goins and Brian Williams were arrested after a Knoxville police officer stopped the car they were riding in for speeding. The arresting officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car as he approached the driver.
At that point, the officer requested a K9 unit to assist. The K9 officer’s dog signaled the smell of drugs in the vehicle and the four young men were removed from the car so a police search could be conducted.
That's when officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat and another handgun with an altered serial number under the passenger seat. Possession of a firearm with an altered serial number is a felony charge in the state of Tennessee.
Police also found a small bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol.
Smith is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of firearm with an altered serial number.
Tatum, Goins and Williams are all charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. Tatum was also charged with having an open container of alcohol. Williams and Goins were also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.
"We take these matters very seriously," UT coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement released by UT. "We are still gathering information. Once the appropriate authorities have provided us with all of the facts, we will act accordingly."
Smith has started all 12 games this season, and is averaging almost 12 points per game. He was released from his scholarship at the University of Iowa in the spring of 2007 so that he could be closer to his father, who was battling cancer.
His father passed away on Sep. 19, 2007, and Smith had two teardrops tattooed under his left eye as a reminder.
Smith is considered a potential NBA draft pick. He announced last June that he would not enter the NBA draft last season when it became apparent he would not be a first round pick.
The recent arrest for felony possession of a firearm won't help his draft chances any.
Update: Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl plans to indefinitely suspend all four players while gathering more details before determining which players will continue their careers at Tennessee, says CBSSports.com Senior Writer Gary Parrish. An official announcement should come within the next 48 hours.