Jerime Anderson, a reserve point guard on the UCLA basketball team, was suspended for at least the Bruins' season opener after being arrested Tuesday evening by campus police on suspicion of grand theft for allegedly stealing a laptop computer.
Anderson, who averaged 5.1 points and 2.6 assists last season, has been barred from all team activities and could sit out additional games as a result of his arrest, according to a statement released by UCLA. He will miss the Bruins' game against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 11 at the Sports Arena, and his status with the team will be reevaluated as the legal process unfolds.
The 6-foot-2 senior was arrested on campus after a tracking device on a MacBook Pro valued at $1,541 helped the owner lead police to Anderson, said Nancy Greenstein, a spokeswoman for UCLA Police. He was booked at the West Hollywood sheriff's station and released on $20,000 bail.
"This is a disappointing and unfortunate situation for Jerime," Coach Ben Howland said in a statement. "We have a high standard and code of conduct that our student-athletes are expected to follow. He knows that he has made a huge mistake and that he has not represented himself, our program or UCLA in a manner that is required."
On the advice of his attorney, Anderson would not comment, said UCLA spokesman Ryan Finney.
The loss of Anderson for the Bruins' opener leaves starter Lazeric Jones as the only point guard on scholarship available for the game, though junior college transfer De'End Parker has played the position. Walk-on Blake Arnet is also a point guard.
UCLA junior forward Reeves Nelson rallied to Anderson's defense on the Internet, tweeting, "I pray no UCLA fans talk bad about Jerime. Only 1 person never made any mistakes. … So nobody point fingers unless your hands are clean."
Anderson is the last remaining member of the Bruins' top-ranked recruiting class of 2008. Guard Jrue Holiday declared for the NBA draft after one season; forward Drew Gordon left UCLA early in his sophomore season after clashing with Howland; center J'mison Morgan transferred after two seasons in which he made a negligible impact; and guard Malcolm Lee was selected in the second round of the NBA draft in June after his junior season.
Anderson arrived from Anaheim Canyon High as one of the top point guard prospects in the country and was tabbed the starter going into his sophomore season. But he struggled so badly that he lost his starting job to Lee and Howland brought in Jones, a rare junior college transfer in Westwood.
Last season, a more confident Anderson improved his shooting touch and was considered a leader on a team without any seniors. He scored 15 points in a road victory over Oregon and routinely delivered pregame pep talks.
"Great family, great kids," said Nate Harrison, who coached Anderson and his younger brother, Chris, at Canyon. Harrison said he was traveling in Spain and did not want to comment on Anderson's arrest until he had more information.