COLUMBIA — Suspended South Carolina men’s basketball player Sindarius Thornwell was arrested in May on charges of possession of marijuana and driving under a suspended licence, according to an incident report obtained Tuesday by The Post and Courier from the Cayce Dept. of Public Safety.
Thornwell, the leading scorer for the 16th-ranked Gamecocks, has been indefinitely suspended since Dec. 4 for what USC has termed a violation of athletic department policy. USC has not specified the offense.
It is not known whether Thornwell’s suspension stems from the arrest, which took place May 22 on Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce, a city which borders Columbia. Asked if the two matters were related, a USC spokesperson Tuesday declined to provide specifics.
According to the report, the arresting officer pulled over Thornwell’s Chrysler 300 after it made an aggressive lane change in which it nearly sideswiped another vehicle. The officer initiated the traffic stop for following too closely and an improper lane change.
A check of Thornwell’s license status showed that his driving privileges in South Carolina had been suspended for failure to pay two traffic tickets, according to the report. The officer also detected “a strong odor of marijuana” emanating from the vehicle, and during a search located two “blunts” containing suspected marijuana.
Thornwell was handcuffed and booked into the Lexington County Detention Center, per the report. The matter was adjudicated after Thornwell paid a fine, according to a spokesperson for the Cayce Dept. of Public Safety.
USC head coach Frank Martin has not said when Thornwell's suspension will be lifted, only that the senior guard from Lancaster will return this season. A source indicated Tuesday that Thornwell would miss the remainder of the Gamecocks' non-conference schedule, but be reinstated in time for the SEC opener Jan. 4.
Thornwell is the fifth USC men’s basketball player to face charges since last spring. Former Gamecocks Eric Cobb, Jamall Gregory and Raymond Doby were dismissed after being cited for marijuana possession, with the former two also facing property damage charges for a BB gun incident. Guard Rakym Felder remained with the team after facing misdemeanor assault and resisting arrest charges in October.
Thornwell, averaging 18.7 points per game, has been allowed to continue to practice with the team and travel to road games during his suspension. The Gamecocks (8-1) suffered their first loss of the season Monday night to Seton Hall in New York.