A Shooting Involving A Player, A Coach Reportedly Hiding The Gun And Cops Chasing The Team Bus - NMSU Basketball Is The Wildest Story Of The Year
There's a lot going on in this story so I'll do my best to break it down moment by moment. But here's what you need to know. This is the most bizarre story in college basketball I can remember since the Baylor scandal. That obviously involved the tragic murder of a teammate and a dogshit person (coach Dave Bliss) trying to cover that up.
Here's where it starts. New Mexico State player Mike Peake was involved in a fight the night before they played their rival New Mexico which ended up in a self-defense killing.
[KOAT] - At about 3 a.m., Peake somehow skipped curfew to meet a girl he wanted to have sex with in a UNM dorm room, police say. Court records show the 17-year-old girl had plotted with three other male students to lure him there as part of a planned revenge beating.
Police have said that Peake was involved in an altercation with the men weeks earlier at the UNM-NMSU football game in Las Cruces.
One of the men attacked Peake with a baseball bat and another pulled out a gun and shot at Peake while he was running away. Peake returned fire, striking 19-year-old Brandon Travis four times, killing him, the police report showed. Peake was shot in the leg while the two exchanged gunfire.
That alone would make this an insane story. Again, this is the night before the NMSU/New Mexico basketball game. A revenge beating. A 17-year old luring someone outside and then obviously the shootout. NMSU/New Mexico canceled the game the next morning. Reports were still kind of murky at this time. They just said a player was involved in a shooting death. We didn't know to what extent when the game was originally canceled.
That game was back on November 19. The December 3rd game (they play home-and-home) was also canceled. Fast forward to yesterday (December 5) and we are getting details that you sound straight out Friday Night Lights or some shit like that. It starts with these:
After the shooting, Peake is seen on video approaching a yellow Camaro, where he meets three of his teammates — Issa Muhammad, Marcelus Avery and Anthony Roy. Peake is seen putting items into the trunk right before the car drives off. Police arrive after the Camaro drove off.
When police went looking to question the three players, they spoke with NMSU Coach Greg Heiar, who told investigators that he didn’t know where the gun was and he needed to check with his athletic director to see if the players needed to get attorneys. He told the detectives he would get back to them, according to the report.
The coach also said he didn’t know Peake that well because he had only been on the team for seven months.
You can't say you didn't know him well because it's been 7 months, man. I don't care the situation, you don't get that excuse as a college head coach. So now we have other players involved with helping a teammate out of the situation. We now have coaches involved.
But it doesn't stop there.
Detectives also talked to assistant coach Dominque Taylor, who did room checks and was in the hotel lobby that night making sure players were not violating the midnight curfew. Taylor said he saw Peake with two other players at about 1:15 a.m. and pointed at the elevator, according to the report.
Now you have an assistant coach involved. Here's where I get really lost. You are a coach and you see three players out 75 minutes after curfew. You don't do anything about it? You're not making sure they are in their rooms the rest of the night. It's clear they have something going on and your one job is to make sure curfew is enforced. You get your cups of coffee and you sit your ass in the lobby until the coast is clear.
Again, every time you think the story is done we get another bizarre detail. Like this, the team bus getting pulled over driving back to New Mexico State's campus:
“At this time I began driving south on Interstate 25 with my lights and sirens activated attempting to locate the bus with the NMSU basketball team on it,” Esquibel wrote in his report.
“I think they were concerned that that gun and that tablet were on that bus headed southbound on I-25 to Las Cruces,” White said. ”And so he's having to run lights and siren to pull over the team bus. He shouldn't have had to do that. They should have stayed there and fully cooperated.”
Or the gun wrapped in a towel with the assistant coach
When the detective caught up with Taylor at the Doubletree Hotel in Albuquerque, the coach had the gun wrapped in a towel, according to the report.
What the fuck is going on out here? If that's not enough New Mexico State played last night as this report dropped. They played some no-name school, but these tweets are fairly outrageous:
So far Peake is the only person suspended from the team. I don't know what happens now but there's a good chance we see more suspensions, even possibly a new coach. I don't even remember a story like this in college basketball. It's not like New Mexico State is some no-name program either. They beat UConn in the NCAA Tournament last year. They are typically an NCAA Tournament team. They tend to be one of the better mid-majors in the country.