Men's Basketball

Gamecocks suspend Rakym Felder

Rakym Felder knows he's a natural leader

Gamecocks point guard Rakym Felder with comments from the summer about basketball.
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Gamecocks point guard Rakym Felder with comments from the summer about basketball.

Sophomore guard Rakym Felder has been suspended indefinitely from the men’s basketball program and will not be attending classes this fall, South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin announced Wednesday.

According to Richland County court records, Felder was arrested July 13 by Columbia police and charged with third-degree assault and battery. The charge stems from a fight in Five Points in the early hours of June 30, according to a Columbia Police Department incident report.

Officers responded to a “large brawl” on the 800 block of Harden Street around 2:45 a.m. A 22-year-old Abbeville woman told officers that Felder spit on her, “an action which at least partially precipitated the fight between various unknown parties, many of whom fled upon the arrival of law enforcement,” the incident report states.

The report does not indicate how Felder and the woman knew each other. It was unclear Wednesday if any other arrests were made in connection with the incident.

Felder has been suspended since June 30.

“Due to some unfortunate decisions by Rakym, he has been suspended indefinitely from our program,” Martin said in a statement. “I will continue to help Rakym grow as a young man even though basketball is not part of our relationship right now.”

Felder released the following statement Wednesday through Columbia attorney Neal Lourie:

“I’m very sorry for my recent behavior that led to my arrest and school suspension. I take full responsibility for my actions and make no excuses for my conduct.

“I apologize to the entire University of South Carolina family including our loyal fans, President Pastides, Board of Trustees, Athletic Director Ray Tanner, Coach Martin and his staff, and my teammates. I know I have let you down and I will have to work hard to regain your trust.”

Felder was charged July 13, and a judge released him the same day on personal recognizance.

Under South Carolina law, a conviction for third-degree assault and battery carries up to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

Felder averaged 5.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game as a freshman in 2016-17. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native posted nine double-figure scoring games in 2016-17, including a 15-point performance in Carolina’s upset of No. 2 seed Duke in the NCAA tournament.

The Gamecocks were counting on him to take a larger role this upcomig season with the departure of guards Sindarius Thornwell, P.J. Dozier, Duane Notice and Justin McKie.

This is Felder’s second suspension from the team.

He also was arrested Oct. 23, 2016, after knocking one victim unconscious and assaulting a Columbia police officer after being tased, according to an incident report from the Columbia Police Department.

“Rakym is not a bad kid,” Lourie said in the release. “He has some personal issues that he cannot fix alone and requires professional help. Once these personal problems are addressed, I believe Rakym will succeed in the classroom, on the court, and in his life after basketball.”

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