Drexel pair face robbery charges

Updated: July 27, 2010, 11:14 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Two Drexel University basketball players face robbery and weapons charges after an armed robbery at a fellow student's apartment in which they went looking for cash but came away only with two cell phones, police said.

Jamie Harris, 21, the team's starting point guard and leading scorer, and Kevin Phillip, 21, a backup forward, turned themselves in Monday, Philadelphia police Lt. John Walker said. A third man, Devon Bond, 21, also a Drexel student, was arrested last week.

Police allege the three hatched a bizarre scheme to take money that Bond believed to be in an off-campus apartment in west Philadelphia.

Bond knocked on the door at about 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday and asked to speak with the male roommate of the woman who answered, Walker said. Once inside, he and the woman discussed school for about 15 minutes.

When he left the building, Bond propped the outside door open and returned a few minutes later with Harris and Phillip, who were armed with handguns, police said. One of the players then forced Bond to the ground as part of a ruse to make it look as if he were being robbed, Walker said.

Harris and Phillip pointed their guns around the woman's apartment and kept asking where the money was, but they didn't find any, Walker said. The three men allegedly fled only with two cell phones.

"We think the roommate of the victim was being targeted," Walker said. "We believe Bond knew that there was money in that apartment."

After the female student reported the robbery, Bond told police he had been the victim of a crime, Walker said. Police quickly found out that wasn't true, Walker said, and determined he had plotted the robbery with Harris and Phillip.

Bond was charged Friday, and warrants were issued for Harris and Phillip on Saturday. All three face robbery, theft and weapons charges, Walker said.

The charges against Harris are unfounded, and the allegations come from "corrupt sources," said attorney Robert Lynch. He would not elaborate.

"These allegations go against the very fiber of his character," Lynch said, adding that Harris has no prior criminal record. "These are mere allegations, and we intend to vigorously defend him."

An attorney for Phillip declined to comment. It wasn't clear whether Bond had an attorney, and a telephone listing for him could not be found.

Harris, a 5-10 point guard out of New York City, started all 32 games for the Dragons last season and averaged 14.5 points a game. Phillip, a 6-6 forward from Brooklyn, averaged 2.9 points and 3.1 rebounds coming off the bench in 31 games.

Drexel has placed all three students on interim suspension at least until the investigation is complete, school spokeswoman Niki Gianakaris said in a statement Monday. The school's police department is cooperating with Philadelphia police, she said.

Drexel coach Bruiser Flint was at ESPN Wide of World Sports in Kissimmee, Fla., evaluating talent at the AAU Super Showcase, when he heard about the arrests. He cut short his recruiting trip, returned to Philadelphia on Sunday and met with his players Monday.

"They're all in shock,'' Flint told ESPN.com Tuesday morning. "I told them that good kids can make bad choices. In all my years of coaching I've never been involved with something like this. I've graduated every kid I've had at Drexel [that has finished his eligibility] and they've all gone on to do things well. You always have issues wherever you are, but never anything like this.

"They come from good families. Jamie Harris was on track to graduate and was talking about becoming a coach. All of a sudden this happens and then you're thinking, what happened? It's just shocking."

Flint noted that both players turned themselves in and were not fugitives.

A number of rival Colonial Athletic Association coaches at the AAU Super Showcase told ESPN.com Monday that Drexel was projected as a likely conference title contender with Harris leading the Dragons. If Harris cannot play, the Dragons' prospects would be downgraded.

Flint said he will stay off the road for a few more days but will finish the July evaluation period this weekend at a few events in the Philadelphia area.

ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.