2 Ky. basketball players reach plea deal

Two University of Louisville basketball players were sentenced to one year of probation on Monday after pleading guilty to a charge stemming from an altercation with off-duty police at a southern Indiana restaurant earlier this month.

Guard Jerry Smith, 22, and forward Terrence Jennings, 20, must complete 40 hours of community service and pay about $500 in court costs as part of their pleas on a charge of resisting law enforcement, a misdemeanor.

Smith and Jennings both “knowingly and intentionally defied, obstructed and interfered with Officer Thomas Mitchell while Mitchell was engaged in the execution of his duties,” according to court documents.

Both players apologized to the court, Mitchell and the community during their arraignment in Jeffersonville City Court on Monday.

“Both Terrence and I can assure you and everyone else that we will do what we are required to do and we will work very hard to make up for this both in the classroom and on the court,” Smith said.

Clark County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carl Frazier noted in the plea agreement that Mitchell was notified and approved of the deal.

Police had also recommended adding charges of battery and disorderly conduct against both players following their arrest in the early morning hours of Oct. 11, but prosecutors decided not to pursue those charges.

The police report said several off-duty Jeffersonville police officers – all of whom were wearing clearly marked T-shirts with “Police” on both the front and back – were working at the restaurant, where a party was going on, when a fight broke out inside. Mitchell found Jennings, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Sacramento, Calif., pushing and shoving people.

Jennings was eventually taken outside and placed on the ground but continued fighting with officers, tried to get back to his feet and refused to place his hands behind his back, according to the report.

Jennings said he wasn’t aware at the time he was being confronted by off-duty police.

Officers needed to strike Jennings twice with a Taser to subdue him.

The report said Smith, a 6-foot-2 senior from Wauwatosa, Wis., refused a request to back away while checking on his teammate.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino had no comment on Monday. He said last week the matter would be handled internally.

Smith averaged 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds and Jennings averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds for the Cardinals last season, and both players are expected to be major contributors for the defending Big East champions.

Louisville began practice for the 2009-10 season last week and opens the season on Nov. 17 against Arkansas in St. Louis.