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Semi-pro basketball: Richmond could still play for Predators, pending ruling

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Former Illini Jereme Richmond put up big numbers for the Sauk Valley Predators last season. He'll likely find out Friday morning whether he'll be able to play for the Premier Basketball League team this upcoming season.

Leah Grenoble could tell Jereme Richmond was anxious.

Turns out, it wasn't because his attorney and Lake County Assistant State Attorney Jim Newman were deliberating whether to allow him to play for the Sauk Valley Predators this upcoming season.

The former McDonald's All-American twitched nervously and checked the clock on his cell phone because he knew he had to make an 11:30 a.m. appointment and class, in accordance with his probation program.

"He kept saying, 'I've gotta be there at 11:30,' " Grenoble, co-owner of the Sauk Valley semi-professional team said. "He's taking responsibilities upon himself."

Richmond, 20, will not be allowed to move to Sterling. But with the assistance of his attorney, Lawrence Wade, and the Predators' organization, Richmond put together and presented Thursday morning the itinerary he would need to follow to commute from his home in Waukegan for practices every non-gameday.

Pressed for time, all parties agreed to reconvene at 11:30 Friday morning, so that Richmond could make his appointment Thursday.

Last Thursday, Lake County judge John Phillips denied Richmond’s request to move to Sterling and play for the Predators. Newman said he filed a petition to revoke Richmond’s probation because he missed several substance abuse and domestic violence classes in January, which are conditions of his probation.

"Talking to the prosecutor, I see reasons for hope there," Grenoble said. "He doesn't want to put Jereme in jail. He wants him to get to his classes, to be at practices and games."

Classes take priority, however.

"When he has classes, he'll be exempt from practice," Grenoble said.

Richmond, once a prodigious NBA prospect, averaged 13.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in nine regular-season games for the Preds last season before being denied the opportunity to play in the playoffs because of a parole violation.

He was arrested in August 2011 in Waukegan and accused of punching his ex-girlfriend and threatening her family with a gun. He pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and received 18 months of probation last January.

He was jailed twice for probation violations.

A versatile, 6-foot-7 forward would be tough to replace. But the Grenobles are as concerned about Richmond's future as a citizen as much as they are about his future on the hardwood.

"It's not just playing basketball, and he has great people he can rely on," Grenoble said. "Our area is ready to help him go down the right track. He's not coming to a college campus to party. He's coming into a tight-knit community. Our athletes are here to train and to further their career."

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