It was a bad week for heavily recruited high-school sports prospects, as hotshots around the country were busted in an eerily congruent series of assault arrests, imperiling the prized recruitment hauls of several major sports programs.
The most serious of all the incidents, of course, took place in our own back yard here in New England. Brian Rudolph, the heavily recruited wonder guard from New Bedford High School — some have called him the “Sebastian Telfair of Buzzard’s Bay” — was popped on two separate assault-and-battery charges, one involving a stabbing, in an extraordinarily depressing incident at an Acushnet house party.
Rudolph, whose mad handle and silky-smooth jumper had scouts across the country drooling, had recently made a decision to follow in the footsteps of Ryan Gomes and attend Tim Welsh’s Providence College program. But on April 17, he apparently decided to attend a small house party in Acushnet that ballooned into a bacchanal at which more than 30 teens were present. At the end of the evening, the party’s host, 18-year-old Jose Raposo, attempted to shoo out some of the revelers. It was at that point that Raposo entered into an argument with a friend of Rudolph’s. In the ensuing melee, Rudolph is alleged to have struck Raposo on the head, then stabbed him in the back with a “sweeping motion.” It is said that Rudolph and his friend then fled and jumped into a car, only to be kicked out of the car by its owners.
Two weeks after the incident, Rudolph was charged on two counts: one was assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the other a simple assault charge. The first charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years. No decision has been made yet by Providence College as to Rudolph’s enrollment.
Authorities were apparently put on Rudolph’s trail by that notorious new engine of law enforcement, the high-school Internet chat room, where rumors of the hoopster’s involvement circulated in the weeks following the party.
Raposo recently told the New Bedford Standard-Times that he was “positive it was Brian” who stabbed him and that he wanted the basketball star “locked up.” Time will tell if Rudolph, if found guilty, gets the typical star-athlete sentence: a one-year suspension and 40 hours teaching finger rolls to ninth graders.
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee . . .
A less serious incident brought to a hasty end the college-hoop career of one Leneal Harris, who was nailed for the far more common, charmingly Michael Irvin–esque crime of carrying weed and a concealed handgun. Harris was felled by that great nemesis of promising inner-city athletes, the Routine Traffic Stop.
Harris had been due to play with the perpetual March Madness surprise team UW-Milwaukee. Unlike Providence College, which is adopting the traditional “this is America and everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law” approach with regard to its star recruit, Brian Rudolph, UW-Milwaukee immediately canceled Harris’s letter of intent.