Gophers basketball player charged with assault

The sophomore guard allegedly beat his girlfriend with a belt. He remained in jail Thursday morning.

by Christopher Aadland

A University of Minnesota basketball player was charged with two felonies Wednesday for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.

Sophomore guard Daquein McNeil beat his girlfriend with a belt and threatened to ruin her life, according to a detention order filed in Hennepin County District Court.

He faces one felony count of third-degree assault and a felony count of domestic assault by strangulation. McNeil could spend up to eight years in prison and face $15,000 in fines if convicted on both charges.

McNeil remained in Hennepin County Jail Thursday morning. Bail was set at $75,000 and his first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

McNeil is suspended from all team activities until his case is resolved.

“This athletics department remains committed to its values of respect for others and respect for the greater community. We will not tolerate domestic assault from any of our staff or student-athletes,” Athletics Director Norwood Teague said in a statement released Wednesday.

The alleged assault occurred Monday morning on Fulton Street Southeast near the Superblock.

McNeil had been dating the victim for about 10 months and went to her apartment to pick up his backpack, according to the court document.

He smashed a mirror and pulled drawers from his girlfriend’s dresser, the document said. He then dumped a bottle of alcohol over her clothes.

The girlfriend’s roommate convinced McNeil to leave, but McNeil later returned, the document said.

McNeil came back, dragged the victim off of her bed, stripped off her pants and dumped cold water on her, according to the document.

He then allegedly strangled his girlfriend and told her, “You ruined my life, now I am going to ruin your life.”

The victim then entered the bathroom to shower. McNeil allegedly snapped a wet towel against her skin.

Then he repeatedly whipped her with his belt, the court document said.

McNeil used the towel to stifle his girlfriend’s screams while he whipped her, the document said.

The victim eventually escaped and ran to a neighbor for help.

The report noted she had large welts all over her body and a reddish mark on her neck where McNeil allegedly strangled her. She also bled from a cut on her wrist.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a news conference that McNeil overcame a “difficult childhood” to land a scholarship at the University, according to a press release.

 “Having said that, the police reports and the injuries to his girlfriend are just unacceptable,” Freeman said in the release.

McNeil, considered to be one of the team’s best perimeter defenders, was expected to be an important player this season.

He averaged 3.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and 18.8 minutes of playing time in four games this season.