KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Anthony Peeler, Big Eight player of the year and expected to be one of the top picks during Wednesday's NBA draft, was free on $500 bond Monday after being arrested on assault charges for the second time in a month.
A police spokesman said Peeler turned himself in at about 11:15 p.m. Sunday in Kansas City. About three hours earlier, a woman walked into police headquarters and complained that Peeler had punched her in the face and wrestled her to the ground.
In an interview with WDAF-TV in Kansas City, 19-year-old Lanae Brown admitted that she struck Peeler twice during an argument.
Brown said she and Peeler had been arguing when she struck him, and she then followed him to another location when he allegedly struck her.
"He said 'Don't you ever do that to me again,' " Brown told the television station, adding that Brown threatened to hit her.
"And I said, 'Oh no, you won't, you just got five years probation,' " Brown said.
"As I was turning away, he hooked me right in the face . . . and I fell to the ground and that's when I broke these five nails," she said.
Peeler denied striking Brown, whom he said he dated while they attended high school. He said she struck him while he was sitting in his car at a traffic light.
"I was just sitting at the light and she came around to me and I let my window down," he said Monday. "She just started swinging on me, and I just took off and called my mother."
Peeler said he had little contact with the woman since high school.
"This is bad," Peeler said. "This is sad. These are the kinds of things that happen to everybody. But mine happen to be in the spotlight."
Last Tuesday, Peeler, 22, was placed on five years' probation in Columbia, Mo., after pleading guilty to a felony weapons charge and two related misdemeanors involving a 20-year-old woman.
In that incident at an apartment near the Missouri campus, Peeler was accused of biting the woman four times, threatening her with a gun and holding her against her will.
Peeler's attorney said he tried to get the matter resolved in court Monday morning.
"My partner and I were there with Anthony and his girlfriend--who is an eyewitness to this--and two other witnesses," said Pat Eng of Columbia. "We hoped to have the whole matter heard this morning and were confident the matter would be decided in our favor. But the girl didn't show up. We asked the matter be dismissed, but the judge continued it to July.
"He doesn't even have a probation officer yet. So we don't have anybody to report to," Eng said. "We had Anthony surrender himself. We're confident we'll be able to convince his probation officer that this is not worthy of a probation violation."
Peeler remains on probation while information is gathered by a probation officer in Kansas City, said David Schreimann, supervisor of the Jefferson City probation office handling Peeler's case.
Schreimann said Peeler was to have been assigned a probation officer in Kansas City, where he is living, but a delay was caused by the case being transferred from Cole County.
The probation officer will gather police reports, interview Peeler and might ask him to undergo drug testing, Schreimann said.
Schreimann said the Kansas City case, although on the level of a misdemeanor, could affect Peeler's probation.
There seems no doubt that Peeler's legal entanglements have damaged his standing among NBA scouts and will cost him a great deal of money.
"This is overwhelming. I can't explain it," said Stu Inman, director of player personnel for the Miami Heat. "My best educated guess is that someone will draft him in the second round with an extra pick, knowing there's a chance he won't be able to play in the next year or so. He wouldn't make a big-time impact right away. But in a couple of years, he could be a very good NBA player."
"Before all the problems, Anthony figured to go somewhere in the middle of the first round, according to most projections," said Scott Layden of the Utah Jazz. "Now, I have no idea."