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UNLV forward Chace Stanback pleads guilty to DUI charge, draws suspension

Rebels forward gets 30-day suspended sentence under plea agreement, will miss exhibition game and regular season opener


Sam Morris

Chace Stanback speaks to the media during a news conference to discuss his guilty plea to DUI - marijuana Thursday, September 22, 2011.

Updated Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 | 10:19 a.m.

Dave Rice / Chace Stanback News Conference

Chace Stanback speaks to the media during a news conference to discuss his guilty plea to DUI - marijuana Thursday, September 22, 2011. Launch slideshow »

UNLV forward Chace Stanback pleads guilty to DUI charge

UNLV forward Chace Stanback will get a 30-day suspended sentence under a plea agreement and will miss the season opener after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from a May DUI arrest.

In the end, UNLV men’s basketball coach Dave Rice settled somewhere in the middle regarding star senior forward Chace Stanback and the punishment stemming from his May 13 DUI arrest.

More than four months later, the issue was finally put to bed Thursday.

Stanback, a 6-foot-8 Los Angeles native who is UNLV’s top returning scorer (13.0 ppg) and rebounder (5.9 rpg), pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of DUI-marijuana in Las Vegas Justice Court.

He was originally due back in court Dec. 1, right in the middle of the basketball season, but instead reached a plea agreement that came with a 30-day suspended sentence, a $585 fine and 40 hours of community service. He’ll return to court March 8 for a status check to see if the requirements of his sentence have been completed.

According to the UNLV student-athlete handbook, first-time offenders in matters such as Stanback’s are not subject to automatic suspension, but rather a treatment/education program and further random drug tests administered by the athletic department.

UNLV put out a news release roughly an hour after Stanback and attorney Steve Wolfson left the courthouse announcing that he would be suspended for the Rebels’ Nov. 1 exhibition game against Washburn and its regular-season opener Nov. 11 against Division II Grand Canyon. His first game back will be Nov. 14, when the Rebels host rival UNR.

Not too harsh, but not too soft.

“Part of it was Chace’s track record prior to the incident at UNLV, and also the equity he’d built up since the arrest,” the first-year coach said. “Still, it was a suspension that was warranted.

“I think it’s really important for this day to come prior to the season. Going into the season, we could know what we were looking at, and he’s a really important member of our team, we’re expecting big things from him. Had (his court date) stayed at Dec. 1, we would have dealt with it, but I think it’s important going into the season to have as few variables as we possibly can.”

Stanback met with the local media in the UNLV basketball offices Thursday afternoon, then not long after leaving, shed his shirt, tie and dress pants and replaced them with basketball shorts and a T-shirt. In every way possible, he looked like someone who was finally comfortable after four trying months.

“The important thing is that I’m moving on,” he said. “In the past, I’ve tried to lead by example, but obviously, my example from this summer wasn’t a great one. Hopefully, my teammates will learn from that.”

By several accounts, everything that Stanback has done this summer following the arrest has been positive, thus helping build up the “equity” that Rice spoke of. Having only been hired at UNLV a month before Stanback’s incident took place, Stanback was under the coach’s microscope the entire time.

In turn, Stanback, for the first time in his four years at UNLV, spent roughly the entire summer in Las Vegas. He became more of a homebody, made sure to live as mellow a lifestyle as possible and put extra focus into summer school and improving his body.

Stanback added 15 pounds from the end of last season and has been conditioning in preparation for Rice’s up-tempo playing style. He’ll be switching to his natural position — small forward — after playing power forward his first two seasons at UNLV following a transfer from UCLA.

The arrest came May 13 at 2:23 a.m. at the intersection of Colby Avenue and Swenson Street, just off the McCarran International Airport bypass and in the shadows of the Thomas & Mack Center. Stanback was just a few blocks from his off-campus residence near Swenson and Flamingo Road when he was pulled over for speeding and failed to provide proof of insurance.

He took a blood test administered by Metro Police, and because of a severe backup in the system, results were unknown until just a couple of weeks ago.

The test revealed no traces of alcohol in his system, only marijuana, which Stanback claimed Thursday he was not a frequent user of. No matter how seldom he may have used before, he vowed he no longer has or will during his time at UNLV. If any of his random tests in the next year come back positive, the result, according to UNLV’s handbook, is an automatic indefinite suspension.

“It really doesn’t matter, because that’s not going to happen again anyway,” he said. “I accepted (the punishment), I deserved it, and I’m just trying to move on.”

In a weird way, the whole mess turned into a positive for Stanback. On top of the aforementioned improvements, he said he became closer with his family and teammates while trying not to harp on it constantly over the past four months.

He’s also fortunate, in a way.

Former UNLV teammate and fellow Fairfax High alum Matt Shaw lost his senior season following a failed drug test at the 2010 NCAA Tournament, which turned up positive for marijuana. With the NCAA-administered test came a mandatory, no-exceptions punishment of a one-year suspension.

How Stanback’s college career ends will now be up to him.

“We had some words, definitely had a long conversation on the phone,” he said of his talks with Shaw. “He said just to make sure I learned from it. His mistake was his last mistake here.”

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  1. In the headline, it should be CHACE not Chase FYI. And thanks for the immediate update.

  2. How does this compare to the Matt Shaw incident? Will Chace face a year long suspension since he has admitted to marijuana use? Is it the same as a failed NCAA drug test?

  3. No, Shaw was an automatic NCAA penalty. This is not.

  4. One exhibition game and one regular season game, according to Chris Maathuis on Twitter.

  5. Where's this kid going to get $585? Some well-meaning alum going to spring for it? And in the "Here come's Hawaii" --- you guys are supposed to be professionals in the use of the English language; what's with the apostrophe? Not every word that ends with an s gets one --- something the billboard and sign makers could also learn.

  6. This and Shaw are two completely different cases. Stanback was arrested and tested by the local PD. Shaw was tested by the NCAA. NCAA failed tests come with an automatic one-year suspension. Unfair as that may be, it's their rule.

  7. NoMorePC - His parents

  8. Keep your head up Chace. Focus on the future.

  9. I'm happy we are going to have him this year, just seems odd. Glad that this is behind him now.

  10. Judge Goodman was not in court today and has not been in court for about a month's time. It's pretty embarrassing that the Sun doesn't even care to fact check their own stories. Was the Sun Staff writer even in the courtroom, the other judges name was right there on the plaque for everyone to see. What a joke.

  11. Good point 702Raised. Plus, the article says Goodman without identifying that it is JUDGE Goodman. Eric Goodman. Who was not there anyway. Incredible.

  12. He got off with an easy settlement

  13. we are behind you chace. You owned up to your mistake and we look forward to a great season.

    as ryan said, chace stayed in vegas this summer not only to beef up but to show his commitment to the team and the new coaching staff. Go Rebs!

  14. Glad everything is cool now but come on chace. You must be glad I'm not the coach cause I would have suspend anyone who messes with drugs after they just witnessed the deal with shaw, for ten games. Just to make sure the point is taken because it obviously wasn't when shaw lost his chance to help the team last year. Now let's go out there and turn a negative into a positive.

  15. To My Fellow Bloggers;

    Just another DUI role model for everyone else to follow. What is it going to take for people to understand DUI is no joke and is a crime? But as usual the consequences for driving DUI are not equal and fair for all, I guess that is just the Nevada way. What a sad commentary to our state. Just an old cop reflecting,

    Gordon Martines

  16. Normally I think the punishment is too light against the athlete, but I think this is fair. I thought Willis got off way too easy, and I would have been completely comfortable if he got booted from the team.

    Stanbeck's name is in a bad light now and now he has to deal with that, pay his $585 , do his service, and miss a couple games.

    You people who are saying Chace shoud have a bigger punishment should ask yourslelf the following questions: "Am I still going to attend games regardless?" "Am I going to be complaining if the team is in last place because Coach Rice supsended him for his senior season?"

    If you answere "no" to both, than complain all you want.

  17. "as usual the consequences for driving DUI are not equal and fair for all, I guess that is just the Nevada way."

    It's the way it is everywhere, so don't try to turn this in to another "Nevada is all screwed up" issue. We know Nevada is all screwed up, but there are plenty of other actual examples that we don't need to shoehorn things to fit the issue. The settlement was pretty favorable for him, but that's why they call it "a settlement." The state charges lesser penalties in exchange for not having to waste time and money going through the whole legal process.

    Regardless of how we feel about the punishment, it is what it is. The suspension he received from the team is pretty much in line with what players who committed similar crimes have received. Its easy to say, "If I were coach, I'd suspend him for X amount of games, just to prove a point," but if you actually were the coach, and you had the same pressures and expectations the coach does have, I bet you'd think differently.

  18. You hate to hear about these little issues but it's easy to look the other way when the majority of us may have done the same at the age (not justifying it). Just hoping we can put this behind us and focus on the season ahead.