Coach Theus visits hospitalized recruit Pope

Updated: April 4, 2007, 7:29 PM ET
Associated Press

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. -- Pennsylvania high school basketball star Herb Pope, who's recovering from gunshot wounds in a Pittsburgh hospital, Wednesday got a visit from New Mexico State coach Reggie Theus, for whom Pope hopes to play next season.

Pope, who averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds a game this past season at Aliquippa High School, was shot on March 31. A Pittsburgh man, Marcus Longmire, 19, turned himself in to police on Tuesdsay and is facing charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and firearms violation.

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Theus and members of his staff visited Pope at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh while en route to New Mexico from the Final Four.

"Herb's spirits are very good," Theus said. "He is very anxious to get out of the hospital and start his rehab. "Herb still has a lot of work in front of him in terms of his rehab, but the main thing is that if his spirits are good, then mine are good."

According to police, Pope and a friend had refused to give a friend of Longmire's a ride home after a party. Information in a criminal complaint states that Pope told police Longmire shot him after the two got into a fight.

Pope, 18, was shot twice in the abdomen, once in the thigh and once in the lower left arm.

Earlier this year Pope was rated the 17th best high school senior in the country by one scouting service.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press