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Richmond seeks court OK to play for semi-pro basketball team

Jereme Richmond

Jereme Richmond

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Updated: March 10, 2013 6:19AM

Valentine’s Day is the next court date for former Waukegan High School basketball star Jereme Richmond, who is asking a judge’s permission to revise his bond conditions to allow him to play for a basketball team about 140 miles southwest of Waukegan.

Richmond made the request Thursday in Lake County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Richmond, 20, of Waukegan is serving 18 months probation for an incident in which he brought a loaded gun to his ex- girlfriend’s Waukegan residence in August 2011. He was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated battery. He pleaded guilty to the gun charge and the aggravated battery charge was dropped.

Richmond was placed on probation in January 2012. His probation term is due to expire in July. He is currently on a curfew.

He was in court Thursday before Judge John Phillips so his attorney Lawrence Wade could ask the judge to modify the conditions of his probation so he can play for the Sauk Valley Predators in Sterling.

“I think your honor is very aware of Mr. Richmond’s special skill set. He is a basketball player who has been sought out by a team called the Sauk Valley Predators,” Wade said.

However, Assistant State’s Attorney James Newman said Richmond had failed to attend his court-ordered substance abuse treatment and his court-ordered domestic violence treatment.

“We are alleging a failure to attend (treatment) for three consecutive weeks. He was unsuccessfully terminated from the (domestic violence) treatment program,” Newman said.

Newman has filed a petition to revoke Richmond’s probation.

“Your probation can be revoked and you can be resentenced or you can be held in contempt of court,” Phillips said.

Richmond pleaded not guilty to the probation violations. He could face one to three years in prison for the gun charge if he is resentenced.

He tested positive for marijuana last October at a random testing. He also had previously failed to attend a treatment session.

“I know that your honor has come across this case far too frequently. I know there have been excuses. There is no excuse except Mr. Richmond has been failing and not doing what he was supposed to,” Wade said.

Richmond’s family is facing financial difficulties in the wake of the recent loss of Richmond’s grandfather, Wade said.

Richmond’s mother had been giving him money to pay for transportation expenses and the $30 per week for domestic violence classes until mid-January. Richmond does not have a job or the means to pay for treatment unless he plays for the basketball team, Wade said.

“He’s really trying,” Wade said.

Newman expressed concern about granting the request when Richmond has not been in compliance with his treatment.

“We have grave concerns that we are sending a message to Mr. Richmond and (other people) on probation that you don’t have to follow the rules and that we’re going to treat you differently because your job is different,” Newman said.

Phillips then set the Feb. 14 hearing date to further address the issue.

Richmond is listed on the Sauk Valley Predators’ roster. He has signed a contract and agreed to play for the 2013 season, according to Sauk Valley Predators owner Leah Grenoble. She spoke to The News-Sun in a phone interview after Richmond’s court hearing.

“Jereme is exactly what we’re looking for on our team. One thing I always state to fans and players is that we are looking for not only talented, young athletes, we want them talented on the court and off.

“We want them to be good people. They are not just here to play basketball. They come into our community and they become family members,” Grenoble said.

She said the team was aware of Richmond’s court situation. Richmond played with the team last year, but couldn’t travel to the playoffs.

The Predators are a semi-pro team entering their second season. The 2013 season tips off March 9 in Sterling.

“Jereme is a wonderful, young kid with a great future. He’s very talented and very skilled. I think he can be very successful with his career,” Grenoble said.

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