CEDAR CITY — Days after the arrest of Southern Utah guard Wade Collie, the Thunderbird men's basketball team is still feeling the ripple effects of losing its third-leading scorer.
Collie, a junior from Las Vegas, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, a second degree felony, early Sunday morning, while his teammates where returning home from a road trip in the Pacific Northwest.
The guard missed the trip with a bruised knee, which had hindered his playing time since Jan. 31.
Collie was also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor. SUU Head Coach Nick Robinson kept mum about the arrest, but noted Collie will remain suspended indefinitely while the investigation continues and more information is known.
Meanwhile the arrest shocked Collie's teammates, although little detail has been shared with them.
"I don't really know a lot about the situation and coach didn't say a whole lot to us," SUU forward Jackson Stevenett said. "I'm sure coach knows more about it than we do. Really, we just try to look past it and move on."
Collie's arrest couldn't have come at a more inopportune team for the T-Birds. SUU (10-15, 8-8 Big Sky) is currently tied for third in the league standings, and is in the midst of a grueling battle in the Big Sky Conference with four games left in conference play.
Collie averaged 7 points per game before the incident and remains the T-Birds' third-leading scorer this season. He began the season as a starter, but found an effective role coming off the bench. On Jan. 26, Collie matched his career high with 18 points and finished a rebound shy of a double-double in a win over Eastern Washington.
"He brings another scorer onto the court," Stevenett said. "He can score multiple ways. It's going to hurt us a little bit losing him."
The T-Birds are now trying to find ways to replace a solid player like Collie. However, A.J. Hess and Chris Nsenki have played extended minutes since Collie injured his knee.
"Both have done a nice job, they've kept themselves prepared all year," Robinson said. "A.J. has obviously had a few more plays over the season. He's rebounded well — shot the ball well on Saturday. Chris has improved his defense over the course of the year … he's played well at his position.
Collie's arrest is the third this school year for SUU athletes.
In late September, SUU football player Tyree Mills was arrested mere hours after the T-Birds' homecoming game on suspicion of theft. Mills was suspended two games, but was reinstated shortly after his arrest.
In November, Cameron Morgan, another member of the T-Bird football team, was charged on 10 counts of possessing child pornography. Morgan's preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled to begin Wednesday in Utah's 5th District Court.