CONWAY — Coastal Carolina senior basketball player Danny Nieman was arrested late Thursday night on charges of DUI and hit and run with property damage and is no longer a part of the team, the school announced.
A one-sentence statement was released Friday afternoon from CCU athletic director Hunter Yurachek states that Nieman “has been indefinitely removed from the team effective immediately.”
Nieman, a 6-foot-1 guard from Concord, N.C., started 47 games over the last two seasons for the Chanticleers, but he missed the first half of last season while serving a university suspension for violation of the school’s code of conduct after a July 2011 arrest for having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle with six other people. He had previously been arrested prior to his freshman season in 2009 in Concord and eventually pled guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge of paraphernalia possession.
According to information posted on the website for the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, Nieman was booked at 11:50 p.m. Thursday night and was being held there Friday. Conway police arrested Nieman, but an incident report on the arrest could not be obtained Friday.
“Danny Nieman’s been removed from the basketball team pending the results of the charge that exists with him,” CCU men’s basketball coach Cliff Ellis said before the team’s first official preseason practice Friday. “We’re moving on with our basketball team, but he’s been removed and that’s the only comment that I will make at this particular time. We will just see how the judicial process goes.”
Ellis was vague as to whether Nieman’s removal is permanent, and associate athletic director for media relations Mike Cawood said Yurachek would have no further comment.
Nieman’s is the third arrest related to the Coastal men’s basketball team since the start of last season.
In January, Brandon Crawford, who had already been ruled academically ineligible earlier in his senior season, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. And in March, senior forward Chris Gradnigo was arrested and charged with first-degree assault and battery, kidnapping and first-degree burglary.
Nieman was one of three returning, experienced seniors for the Chants. A trusted facilitator on the floor in Ellis’ offense, Nieman was on the floor for 26.7 minutes per game last season and averaged 5.9 points per game over the last three years.
He had been out with a toe injury and was not expected to practice with the squad until November, however. Seniors Anthony Raffa and Kierre Greenwood -- named to the preseason All-Big South Conference first and second team respectively -- will be the Chants’ starting backcourt and will likely play more minutes to account for Nieman’s absence. Raffa declined to comment on the situation.
“Unfortunately, he hadn’t been with the team,” Ellis said. “This is our first day of practice, but we’ve been able to go two hours a week. We’ve probably gotten 12 hours of work, so we’ve been going without him. ... The fact that we are not going to be able to get him is the thing that we look at, but also we know where we’re headed. We know what we’ve got to do.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.