tampabay.com

Former basketball star is jailed in Hillsborough

He is accused of violating his probation.

By REBECCA CATALANELLO, Times Staff Writer
Published December 4, 2007


TAMPA - Former Robinson High School football and basketball standout Desmond Allison was in jail Monday on a charge he violated probation.

A report states that the arrest stemmed from a 2004 cocaine charge. A sheriff's spokeswoman did not have details late Monday about the alleged probation violation.

Allison, now 27, played basketball for Robinson from 1995 to 1998 before he was recruited by the University of Kentucky, where he started as a freshman.

The standout athlete lost his scholarship in 2000 after a DUI arrest, but in 2005 got a second chance to play for University of South Dakota.

On Monday, Allison told Hillsborough jail officials that he plays basketball for a team in China.

Allison's former Robinson football coach, Mike DePue, said Monday that he heard Allison was pursuing an opportunity to play basketball in the Far East. Allison is no longer eligible to play college sports.

"Hopefully, this is just one of those administrative things that can be dealt with," DePue said of Allison's latest arrest. "As far as the Robinson family knows, he's trying to stay on the straight and narrow."

Now 6 feet 5 and 218 pounds, Allison was known by his high school coaches as a humble but skilled athlete.

"I've been coaching down here for 30 years," DePue said, "and he's the best athlete I've ever seen in my life."

But Allison's legal issues have been a stumbling block. Besides the Kentucky arrest, Florida records show he was in and out of jail four times in 2004 on drug-related charges.

Monday's was his second arrest for violation of probation. The last was in September. The Times has reported in the past that Allison had problems staying in touch with his probation officer.

No one could be reached at Allison's Davis Islands home late Monday.