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Oklahoma basketball player dismissed from program after incident in Rochester

Akolda Manyang

The University of Oklahoma announced Wednesday night that former Rochester resident Akolda Manyang has been dismissed from the program, minutes after the Post-Bulletin published a report detailing the former Minnesota prep basketball star's incident with a Rochester cab driver.

The 23-year-old senior center for the Sooners was arrested around 3 a.m. Wednesday by the Rochester Police Department after he and a friend, Tadros Deng, allegedly assaulted a cab driver while also stealing the keys to the cab driver's personal vehicle.

Capt. John Sherwin said the two men were "drunk and belligerent and didn't know the address" where they wanted to be dropped off at 2:20 a.m. When the cab driver ordered them out of his vehicle, the two men smashed the driver's clipboard on the ground, assaulted the driver and chased him around the parking lot before he found safety in a hotel lobby and the two suspects attempted to flee before being arrested.

Manyang and Deng are both expected to be charged today in Olmsted County District Court with felony robbery and fifth-degree assault, according to Sherwin; formal charges had not been filed as of 10:45 a.m. today.

The incident comes almost exactly a month after Manyang was suspended indefinitely by Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger following Manyang being charged with aggravated assault and battery, a felony, for a May 1 incident where he allegedly punched a former Oklahoma football player in the face, knocking out two teeth.


According to the Tulsa World newspaper, the 22-year-old victim reported the incident to police at 3:40 a.m. by saying he suffered "injuries to his face, including swelling, a lacerated lip and two missing teeth, which he said were knocked out as a result of the punch." Witnesses at the scene identified Manyang, while saying the punch was unprovoked.

The separate felony charges come in the wake of personal tragedy for Manyang, who lost his older brother, Ater Manyang, to suicide on March 18 . Ater was at a state addiction treatment center in St. Peter at the time of his death .

Akolda's grieving process included leaving the Oklahoma men's basketball team during its Final Four run to spend time with family in Rochester prior to the April 2 funeral at Zumbro Lutheran Church.

Ater Manyang was a basketball star in his own right, with friends posthumously describing him as "a teddy bear." The 2007 grad remains Century's career leading scorer and rebounder, though his high school career ended in controversy due to a Minnesota State High School League rules violation as a senior.

Akolda briefly attended John Marshall, Century and Golden Hill in Rochester before a 2010 legal incident led to a court-ordered move to Woodland Hills residential treatment program in Duluth. Despite that troubled time, the 7-footer developed into a prep star who led Duluth East to state as a senior — before he was ruled ineligible for smoking a cigarette , an allegation which he's vehemently denied.

Akolda spent two years turning his life around at junior college before landing at Oklahoma, where he averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 25 games last season as a key Sooners reserve. He told the Post-Bulletin in 2014 that he planned to play in the NBA .

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