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Wilcox arrested after gun found in car


Chris Wilcox, a former University of Maryland basketball star turned center for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, was arrested yesterday morning after police discovered a gun in his car during a traffic stop in Howard County.

Wilcox, 22, who was the eighth pick in the 2002 draft after helping the Terrapins win the NCAA championship, could not provide proof that the .357 Ruger revolver belonged to him or that he had a permit to carry it, Howard County police said.

Wilcox was stopped on southbound Route 29 in Columbia at 2 a.m. after an officer saw him struggling to stay in a lane, police said.

When Officer Bryon Dietzel asked Wilcox if he had been drinking, he said: "Yes, I had one drink," according to court records. Dietzel called for backup, a nearby K-9 unit arrived and Wilcox performed a field sobriety test, which he passed.

"This did not involve a Breathalyzer," said Sherry Llewellyn, a police spokeswoman. "If it's evident a driver is not impaired, a Breathalyzer wouldn't be administered."

However, the dog did react to the silver BMW with California license plates that Wilcox was driving, and the officer asked if there was anything inside the vehicle. Wilcox, of Boulder Ridge Road in Laurel, said there was a gun.

Officers searched the car and found the weapon with one spent casing in it behind the front passenger seat. Dietzel also found several bullets and two spent shell casings, according to police.

Wilcox was charged with transporting a handgun in a vehicle, which carries a maximum three years in prison and $2,500 fine. He was released on his own recognizance yesterday. A passenger inside the BMW was not charged.

Llwellyn said she did not know when the gun was fired or where Wilcox had been earlier that night.

Attempts to reach Wilcox yesterday by phone and in person at the Laurel address he provided to police were unsuccessful. His attorney did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Wilcox, 6 feet 10 and 250 pounds, played two seasons at the University of Maryland before being drafted by the Clippers in 2002. He signed a three-year contract worth a reported $6.1 million.

In three seasons in Los Angeles, Wilcox has averaged 7.0 points and 3.9 rebounds. Last season, he averaged 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in about 19 minutes per game.

Wilcox was a starter on Maryland's national championship team as a sophomore, averaging 12.0 points and 7.1 rebounds. In the Terps' semifinal victory over Kansas, Wilcox scored 18 points and blocked four shots.

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