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Reports of thefts add to Dennehy mystery

Shortly before Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy disappeared last month, he told an assistant coach he had twice been the victim of thefts, Dennehy's summer-league coach said.

Dennehy told assistant Rodney Belcher his car stereo had been stolen and cash had been taken from his apartment, said Nelson Washington of Redwood City, Calif., who coached Dennehy's AAU team.

Washington said Belcher told him of Dennehy's complaints during a mid-June phone conversation after Dennehy disappeared.

Dennehy's actions before he disappeared more than three weeks ago have become a focal point of the investigation. Some people close to the player have said he felt threatened.

Dennehy's girlfriend, Jessica De La Rosa of Albuquerque, N.M., has said he told two Baylor assistants he had been threatened and became frustrated because the coaches did not act. She has declined to identify the assistants.

Baylor coach Dave Bliss has said Dennehy never made members of his staff aware of "safety concerns or personal threats."

Washington, the legal guardian of Senque Carey, a University of New Mexico basketball player and close friend of Dennehy's, said he was unaware Dennehy was missing until Dennehy's stepfather, Brian Brabazon, asked him in mid June whether he had seen or spoken to the player recently.

Washington said he called Belcher and asked about Dennehy's whereabouts. During that conversation, he said, Belcher related that Dennehy had come to see him about the alleged thefts.

Washington said he believes both incidents occurred in the days leading up to Dennehy's disappearance, because Dennehy did not mention them when he visited Carey in Albuquerque in late May.

"I think everything kind of happened within a week's time _ his car being broken in to and then some money being stolen," he said. "I say that because I know that three weeks before he came up missing, he was in Albuquerque and went to Senque's house. I don't think that (the alleged thefts) had happened then."

Washington said Belcher gave no indication whether the situations had been dealt with by the Baylor coaching staff or reported to police.

Waco police spokesman Steve Anderson said his department has no record of complaints related to Dennehy, other than the missing-persons report, which Dennehy's stepfather filed June 19.

He said he doesn't know whether investigators are looking at the alleged thefts as factors in Dennehy's disappearance.

Belcher did not respond to phone messages from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

MICHIGAN: Prosecutors were banned from presenting key testimony and evidence at the perjury trial of Sacramento Kings star Chris Webber in Detroit.

Prosecutors cannot use notes kept by Michigan basketball booster Eddie Martin as evidence that Webber borrowed money from him while playing in high school and college, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds ruled.

Prosecutors also were prohibited from calling other players to testify about amounts they said they received from Martin.

Edmunds said she would probably not allow wiretapped phone conversations in which Martin reportedly tells an acquaintance about how much Webber owed him.

Martin died in February at age 69 without testifying before a federal grand jury.

The former auto worker pleaded guilty in 2002 to conspiracy to launder money and told federal prosecutors he lent $616,000 to Webber and three other Michigan players.

INDIANA: D.J. White, considered one of the nation's top high school seniors, plans to play for coach Mike Davis in 2004-05.

White, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., is the top prize of Indiana's recruiting class, which is likely to rank among the nation's best with commitments from 6-foot-5 Robert Vaden of Indianapolis and 6-6 James Hardy of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Football

FLORIDA A&M: The fate of former Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons, who transferred to the Tallahassee school in May, is under appeal with the NCAA.

According to the NCAA, because the school applied for Division I-A status starting in 2004, any transfers (such as Simmons) must adhere to Division I-A rules requiring them to sit out a year. Simmons, who began last season as the Tigers' starter, transferred to Florida A&M with hopes of starting for the Rattlers this fall.

Florida A&M director of compliance, Jonathan Evans, said the school was told by the NCAA "that all players admitted by June 30 would be eligible for the one-time transfer exception" to play in the team's final season in I-AA.

Simmons has one season of eligibility remaining.

NEBRASKA: Suspended offensive lineman Junior Tagoa'i pleaded no contest to an assault charge for hitting his former girlfriend while she was holding their child.

The Hauula, Hawaii, native is set to be sentenced Aug. 15 in Lancaster County Court and faces a year in jail or a fine of $1,000.

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