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Erick Barkley Suspended by Greek League

November 27, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Former NBA first-round draft pick Erick Barkley was suspended by the Greek Basketball Federation after

he tested positive for marijuana, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Barkley, a point guard who starred at St. John’s before leaving for the NBA after two seasons, had his contract terminated by his team, Peristeri, and was suspended by the league for three months after he failed the test during a physical.

``His drug test was positive ... (for) cannabis,″ Vasso Beskaki, a Greek league eligibility official, told the newspaper. Drug tests are part of the standard process to make foreign players eligible to play in the league.

Beskaki said the 24-year-old Barkley could take another drug test and be reinstated if he passes, but the Post reported that the 6-foot-1 guard had already returned to the United States.

``He was very disappointed,″ said Andy Miller, Barkley’s agent. ``He was obviously looking forward to a nice transition with a very good team in Greece.″

It’s the latest off-the-court problem for Barkley, who was the 28th overall pick by Portland in the 2000 NBA draft.

Last December, Barkley and Trail Blazers teammate Bonzi Wells were cited by police after refusing to leave the scene of a fight in downtown Portland and yelling profanities at an officer.

Barkley’s second year at St. John’s was tarnished by clashes with the NCAA, which suspended him for two games and declared him ineligible for another, for exchanging vehicles with a family friend and for accepting tuition payments to his prep school made by an AAU program in New York.

He played sparingly for the Trail Blazers the past two seasons. He was traded to San Antonio in August and shortly later to Chicago, but failed to make the team out of training camp.

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