By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
In a basketball sense, Brett Kingma has served his time. Seven weeks of suspension for an October arrest in Pullman were enough, Washington State University men’s basketball coach Ken Bone said Tuesday.
Bone called the duration of the suspension “a good amount of time to make sure he understands, and the rest of the guys understand, what’s going to be tolerated and what isn’t.”
Kingma, the former Jackson High School star who is currently sitting out the 2012-13 season after transferring to WSU from Oregon, has been practicing with the Cougars for a week now, Bone said. The Cougars’ coach added that the experience has helped Kingma grow as a person.
“His attitude has been great the whole time,” said Bone, who handed down an indefinite suspension shortly after Kingma’s Oct. 20 arrest for minor in possession and possession of marijuana. “
He has, I think, learned a lot through this process. Only time will tell, but to gauge it right now, it could end up being the best thing that ever happened to him.”
Kingma was not made available to the media on Tuesday, but his older sister said that he has learned from the arrest and subsequent suspension.
“I think it was a good thing for him, going away from home and having him learn from that experience at a young age,” said Kristi Kingma, a fifth-year senior on the University of Washington women’s basketball team. “I think it’s definitely a good lesson to learn when you’re 18 and not 25 or 30.”
Kristi Kingma added that news of Brett’s arrest was “definitely shocking” to the entire family.
“I never thought in a million years that would happen,” she said.
“He made a bad decision,” she added. “It wasn’t that he was a bad kid or a bad person; he just got caught up in the wrong stuff. The more he’s able to prove himself on the court and show what kind of a person he is, people are going to realize it was just one bad decision.”
During his time at Jackson High, Brett Kingma became one of the most accomplished Snohomish County athletes of the past half-decade. He led the Timberwolves to the 4A state championship game as a junior, was named to the all-state team as a senior, then accepted a scholarship to Oregon.
It’s been a different experience for Kingma at the collegiate level. He averaged 3.1 points while playing less than 10 minutes per game as a freshman at Oregon, shot just 31 percent from the field and was buried deep on the Ducks’ bench.
He announced in June that he was leaving Oregon, then ended up enrolling at WSU as a non-scholarship transfer. His basketball career hit rock bottom on Oct. 20, when he was stopped by Pullman police while reportedly staggering across campus at 2 a.m. A subsequent search turned up a small amount of marijuana, and Kingma, 20, was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors.
Bone suspended him shortly thereafter, and during the Pacific-12 Conference media day in Los Angeles the WSU coach made comments to the Spokesman-Review newspaper that Kingma’s future with the program was in jeopardy.
Seven weeks later, Kingma was back on the practice court.
“Obviously, that was a really tough time for him, along with my family,” Kristi Kingma said. “That’s not an ideal situation to have happen. But Brett, he’s such a strong kid, and the way we were raised and our Christian faith, there’s nothing that’s going to break him down, and there’s nothing that’s going to break our family down. I’m excited for him, that he gets to get back on the court, where he’s comfortable.
“… I’m so proud of him and the way that he’s handled himself. And I think that the Cougar fans — this is really weird (for a UW player) to say — are really going to enjoy watching him next year. I’m really glad that it’s over.”