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Former Penn State player Gyasi Cline-Heard sentenced to 16 years in federal prison

Nov 23, 2012, 2:36 PM EDT

CLINE HEARD

Not a good couple of days for former college basketball players when it comes to the police blotter. First there was former Baylor walk-on Richard Hurd getting sentenced to 18 months for his attempt to extort money from Robert Griffin III.

Today it’s former Penn State forward Gyasi Cline-Heard, who was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.

Cline-Heard, the son of former NBA player and coach Gar Heard, played at Penn State from 1997 to 2001 and was a key member of the 2001 squad that reached the Sweet 16. For his career in Happy Valley, the 6-8 Cline-Heard averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

After playing overseas Cline-Heard opened a tattoo parlor in Tampa, but became involved in crack dealing in 2010 according to the plea agreement. According to the agreement he made six sales to an undercover detective.

The conspiracy involved acts of violence, and Cline-Heard admitted a “violent act” against another drug conspirator, according to a sentencing memorandum by defense attorney Grady Irvin.

Although Cline-Heard has not been charged in any murder, Irvin says in the sentencing memorandum that the defendant denies he had someone murder Clint Wilson, Heard’s partner in Cherry Bomb Tattoos. Wilson was shot near the New Port Richey business in 2009.

Gar Heard reportedly didn’t agree with his son’s decision to open a tattoo parlor back in 2009, and the arrest of Cline-Heard for selling drugs left him stunned according to the Tampa Tribune.

“It was not the type of business that I wanted him involved in, but Gyasi wanted to express himself through tattooing and felt as though this business was the way to do it,” Heard said to the paper. “This news has completely floored our family and I can’t understand what made him go in this direction.”

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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