Niagara to punish players accordingly after assault trial

LEWISTON, N.Y. -- Five Niagara basketball players will be
disciplined whether or not they are convicted for their alleged
involvement in an assault on a university baseball player last

Athletic director Ed McLaughlin said Tuesday the severity of the
punishment will be determined once the trials of the five players
are over next month. He added that the players, four of whom are
under 21, at the very least showed poor judgment for being at a bar
late at night.

"We're going to punish fairly and justly," McLaughlin said
during a school sports luncheon. "I think the key thing for all of
our students to understand, moving forward, is there are
consequences for all their actions and putting themselves in some
not particularly good situations. ... They all put themselves in a
real bad spot."

Starters Charron Fisher and Stanley Hodge face the most serious
charge of misdemeanor assault. They are accused of attacking
Jeffrey St. Denis, a Purple Eagles pitcher who was pulled out of a
parked van near a Niagara Falls bar in the early morning of Aug.

St. Denis lost consciousness and was driven to a hospital, where
he was treated for bruises to the face and chest, a police report
said. Fisher and Hodge are scheduled for trial Oct. 17.

Hodge and teammates Lorenzo Miles, Kamau Gordon and Javonte
Clanton are also charged with disorderly conduct and scheduled for
trial Oct. 10. The five will then appear before a university
judicial panel.

The Purple Eagles are two weeks from the start of practice
leading to their season-opener against Binghamton on Nov. 16.

Purple Eagles coach Joe Mihalich declined comment, directing
questions to McLaughlin. McLaughlin said he was "disappointed and
embarrassed for the university" because of the attention brought
to a school celebrating its 150th anniversary this month.

"I feel badly for our alums that this is something being talked
about when this is a time they should be beaming with pride,"
McLaughlin said. "But we'll get back to the point where our
athletic department is a source of pride for them."