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Former Jazz player Robert Whaley arrested in Utah

Published: Saturday, March 13 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A former Utah Jazz player who had a warrant out of Michigan was arrested Friday in Salt Lake County.

After Robert Antwon Whaley was arrested and while he was being searched to be booked into jail, officers found several bags of marijuana he was "holding between his buttocks," according to jail documents.

The incident began about 4:30 a.m. outside an apartment complex near 3900 South and 700 West. Gang detectives were doing extra surveillance in the area because of a recent rash of criminal activity, said Unified Police Lt. Don Hutson. A vehicle with its lights off and several people inside was spotted parked nearby, and officers questioned the occupants.

The rear passenger said his name was Kareem Johnson, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. A detective on the scene, however, recognized the man as a former Utah Jazz player. Upon further investigation, investigators determined the man was Whaley.

Whaley was selected by the Jazz in the 2005 draft despite a history of legal trouble in college.

In December 2005, Whaley and Jazz point guard Deron Williams, both in their rookie seasons, got into an altercation with a group of Denver Nuggets fans who were harassing them outside a Park City club. Both Whaley and Williams gave police false names at that time. Both were cited for providing false information to police.

Whaley, who sustained a 6-inch cut on his hand at the bar that night, was suspended one game by the Jazz for lying about how he received the injury. He was traded in 2006.

In September 2008, Whaley was convicted in Michigan of running a drug house. He absconded from his probation, and a National Crime Information Center warrant was issued for his arrest.

Hutson said Michigan officials have indicated they are interested in extraditing Whaley. Because of that, investigation charges of providing false identification to police and drug possession likely will be dropped in favor of the more serious Michigan charges.

After the Jazz's shootaround Friday morning in Milwaukee, coach Jerry Sloan reacted to news of Whaley's arrest.

"It's sad to hear," Sloan said. "But I think we tried to tell him the right things."

Contributing: Tim Buckley

e-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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