Former Laker, Corie [Blunt] Blount, Gets Caught Up
Janice Morse of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes:
Basketball star Corie Blount grew up poor in southern California, amid a culture where “everybody wanted to sell drugs,” he told UC Magazine in its September issue.
Blount seemed to escape that fate. His athletic prowess gave Blount the chance to play for the University of Cincinnati’s 1992 Final Four team and to enjoy an 11-year, multi-million-dollar NBA career. Blount was a volunteer coach this season at Cincinnati State and he earned a degree this year in criminal justice.
Now Blount stands accused of being deeply involved in the drug business.
On Thursday, Butler County authorities arrested Blount after he accepted a U.S. Postal Service delivery of 11 pounds of marijuana at a Liberty Township property he owns. They followed Blount to his home nearby and arrested him. There, they found 18 more pounds of pot.
Drug-sniffing dogs found the dope even though it was enveloped in mustard, plastic wrap and fragrant clothes-dryer sheets, police said. The drugs came from an undisclosed location in California, and authorities there are investigating, officials said.
In addition to the pot, police confiscated $29,500 in cash, a Mercedes Benz, a Cadillac Escalade, a Chevrolet Suburban, and three guns– one of them an SKS assault rifle, said Butler County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Hackney.
Blount, 39, is accused of possessing 29 pounds of marijuana. He was freed after posting $10,090 bond. Blount is scheduled to appear in Butler County Area II Court, Hamilton, on Wednesday.
If convicted on the possession charge, Blount faces one to five years in prison. More charges are possible, officials said.
The court had no attorney listed for Blount, and an attempt to reach Blount at his home for comment was unsuccessful Friday.
According to a news release from the Butler County sheriff’s office, authorities learned that a package of marijuana from out of state was scheduled to be mailed to an address on Serenity Place in Liberty Township.
Sheriff’s deputies, working with federal agents and Middletown police, scheduled what they called a controlled delivery of the marijuana to the residence on Thursday.
They said that Blount arrived at the residence to retrieve the package, which contained 11 pounds of marijuana.
“Blount was followed to his residence where deputies stopped him and arrested him,” the news release says.
Police searched Blount’s home and the residence where the package was delivered. At Blount’s residence, deputies said they found a second package of marijuana containing about 11 pounds of marijuana. Authorities say a third package contained seven pounds of marijuana.
The marijuana found at Blount’s home has an estimated street value of about $52,200, police said.
Blount, who played on UC’s 1992 Final Four team and the school’s Elite Eight team in 1993, was the Chicago Bulls’ first-round draft pick in 1993.
He played on five NBA teams before returning to the Bulls’ roster in 2002-03, according to nba.com.
Blount received his college diploma in June in criminal justice. Blount was inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame in September.
This season, he had been a volunteer assistant men’s basketball coach at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.
“We are disappointed to see this turn of events, especially since Corie has been a first-class professional in his volunteer activities with the basketball program,” according to a statement from the school.
The basketball team is coached by Andre Tate, who played at UC from 1988-1990.
Former UC teammate Terry Nelson said he was shocked to learn of Blount’s arrest. Nelson said the two have known each other since junior college in California.
“I was sick to my stomach. I had no idea this was going on,” said Terry Nelson, a former UC Bearcat teammate who has remained in close touch with Blount. “I am blown away. I never expected something like this.”
Nelson said he intends to sit and pray with Blount when the time is right. “I pray for mercy. I pray the Lord can and will use this to turn his life around,” Nelson said.
Blount’s former coach, Bob Huggins, declined comment on the situation, says a spokesman at West Virginia University, where Huggins now coaches.
Even law enforcement authorities were surprised at this case.
Hackney said he and other investigators can’t figure out why a guy like Blount would jeopardize a dream-come-true lifestyle.
Blount co-owns a bar called The Garage in Sharonville. He also owns multiple parcels of real estate including a secluded Liberty Township home valued at over $500,000, where he lives with his wife and five children.
“You just think, ‘Why? Why would somebody th
at’s been so successful take these risks?’ It doesn’t seem like somebody who had a good life like that would do this,” Hackney said Friday. “I keep shaking my head.”
Butler County Sheriff Rick Jones said Blount’s name was well-known to
him, but as a basketball player, not someone accused of running afoul of the law.
“I had no idea he’d have a mug shot and be in my jail,” Jones said.
As jailers photographed Blount, they granted his request to remove the UC-themed sweatshirt he was wearing. Blount didn’t want the UC logo to appear in his mug shot and further embarrass his alma mater, Jones said. Blount was photographed in a green polo shirt instead.
Officials granted the request, “not because we felt sorry for him, but out of respect for UC,” Jones said.
Blount is easily the most high-profile drug suspect ever locked up in the Butler jail, Jones said.
“It’s another role-model let-down. He’s let down everyone at UC, all the fans who’ve paid to watch him play, all the little kids who looked up to him,” Jones said. “We’ll see him in court. It’s not the court that he’s used to playing on – and he’s not going to be the star player in this court.”