Wed Sep 29 12:09pm EDT
Of all the outcomes for his legal trouble this offseason, UNLV guard Tre'Von Willis probably didn't dare dream of a scenario any better than this.
Willis plead no contest to a reduced charge misdemeanor domestic battery and agreed to pay a $340 fine, perform 100 hours of community service, and attend counseling sessions. Then Tuesday, he held an apologetic press conference and UNLV announced it would suspend him for just two exhibition games and the season opener against UC Riverside as long as Willis' behavior meets the school's expectations.
"He'll be held to a very high standard, and based on how he conducts himself over the next six to eight weeks, before the start of the season, we'll see if (the suspension) goes beyond 10 percent (of the season)," UNLV coach Lon Kruger told reporters in Las Vegas on Tuesday. "First three games was what that amounts to and, again, it could be more depending on what happens."
It would have been naive to have expected UNLV to suspend its leading scorer for the entire season as a result of this incident, but the leniency the Rebels showed Willis has caught many by surprise. Including two exhibition games in the penalty makes it seem as though UNLV is trying to ensure it has Willis in the lineup when the schedule stiffens for the third game of the season against Wisconsin.
To be fair to Willis, the case against him appears to be little more than he-said, she-said at this point.
Twenty-eight-year-old Skye Sanders accused Willis of choking her at her apartment in Henderson, Nev. on June 29. Willis apologized profusely for the embarrassment he's caused the school but insisted during the news conference that no choking took place.
"I originally agreed to go over to the young lady's house, she had promised me a little bit of money," Willis said. "I went over there, started to argue a little bit, and from then, I grabbed her purse off of the night stand.
"That's when she tried to grab the purse from me. That's when I grabbed her hand, and I knew it was wrong. I know better. From there, I dumped the contents of the purse onto the bed and there was no money in it. Then I exited the apartment."
We'll never know exactly what happened here, though there's enough of a discrepancy between the stories Willis and Sanders have told that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. All we can hope is that Willis learns from this and never puts himself in this position again.