Three NIU basketball players charged with theft

By Khobi Price

Men’s basketball senior guard Dante Thorpe, junior guard Eugene German and sophomore guard Zaire Mateen have been suspended indefinitely from competition after being charged with retail theft Oct. 24, according to a DeKalb County Police Report.

DeKalb Police Commander Steve Lekkas said Thorpe, German and Mateen were shopping at Walmart, 2300 Sycamore Road, Oct. 17 when they left multiple food items in their cart and did not pay for them while using self-check out. He said a Walmart employee told its security, who shared security footage of the incident with DeKalb Police.

Lekkas said the unpurchased items had a value of less than $50. He said the retail theft is classified as a ordinance violation and carries a fine of up to $300.

German, Thorpe and Mateen were charged Oct. 24 and voluntarily turned themselves into the DeKalb Police. Lekkas said they did not need to post bail and can pay the fine by Dec. 17, when they are scheduled to appear in court.

“We are aware of the incident involving three members of our program and are very disappointed in their actions as they do not reflect the high standards that we have for our student-athletes,” Head Coach Mark Montgomery said, according to an NIU Athletics email sent Monday by Director of Communications Jeremy Reid. “As a result, each of these three student-athletes has been suspended indefinitely from competition.”

Mateen transferred to NIU after averaging 17.6 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game during his lone season at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Thorpe is entering his final season with the Huskies and averaged 10.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game with the Huskies during their 2017-18 season.

German led the Mid-American Conference in scoring last season with 20.6 points per content and notched All-MAC Second Team during the 2017-18 campaign. He was named to the preseason All-MAC team, according to an Oct. 30 news release.

German was charged with four counts of battery by the NIU police department Aug. 7, according to a DeKalb County Circuit Court report. The charges stem from an incident that occurred May 5.

German posted a $300 bond Aug. 16, according to a DeKalb County Circuit Clerk report. He filed a speedy trial demand Sept. 24 and was granted the right to travel out of state by DeKalb County Judge Tom Doherty Sept. 28.

German’s attorney Joseph Lovelace declined to comment on the charges. Associate Athletic Director Donna Turner said German was internally disciplined by the team for the charges.

“We don’t publicly announce those things unless we get inquiries,” Turner said. “No one has asked about those. It’s not our policy to release every discipline that comes out.”

German has a status hearing for the battery charges 9 a.m Thursday.