CVP SPECIAL REPORT: What for some has seemed a revolving door continued to spin for former Englewood basketball star Sean Banks, who left a Hackensack courtroom with probation last week for assaulting his girlfriend nearly two years ago.
The particular case has been marked by late appearances, no appearances, adjournments and bench warrants for the 29-year-old Banks, who’s been arrested several other times by police in Bergen and Sussex counties while it was pending.
Two months ago, he was named in an indictment charging him and nine other people with using an Englewood flophouse as a gambling den and marijuana stashhouse.
Other charges still must be resolved from no fewer than six arrests the past year.
Meanwhile, Banks remains free again on bail, this time $26,500 for an alleged June assault on police — which came just weeks after authorities ended a three-month manhunt by arresting him for skipping court.
Banks agreed to the guilty plea in return for a reduction in six counts against him 13 months ago following a Jan. 15, 2013 incident in which prosecutors said he assaulted his girlfriend with a broomstick and belt, then restrained her from leaving.
In exchange for probation, the onetime Bergen Catholic star pleaded guilty to fourth-degree aggravated assault, recklessly causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest — for running away and jumping a fence while police were chasing him.
Banks is still facing charges out of Englewood for burglarizing a woman’s home and then slashing her car tires when she told him to leave.
Knowing that he was wanted, Banks laid low, city police said at the time. They tracked him down soon after, during which they said he got into a scuffle with them.
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Several other police agencies obtained detainers on Banks for failing to show up for court on charges in their towns, as well.
More than two years ago, Banks was grabbed along with other members of an offshoot of the infamous James Bond Gang burglary ring following a high-speed police chase and crash after break-ins at homes in Sparta and Jefferson Township.
The New Orleans Hornets signed the 6-foot-8-inch Banks as an undrafted rookie free agent in the summer of 2005 and assigned him to the team’s developmental affiliate in Tulsa after he averaged four points a game in pre-season.
After the Hornets waived him, Banks played in Puerto Rico and with other U.S. developmental teams. He became a father and had hopes of playing for Great Britain’s national team. His last hurrah was scoring 14 points in a D-League All-Star game seven years ago.
The naturally gifted Banks wasn’t just any player coming out of Bergen County. At Memphis University, he was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year a decade ago, scoring 17.4 points per game and grabbing 6.5 rebounds for a major college program.
But things went sour after he couldn’t meet the academic requirements and left school.
Banks’s criminal history began with charges of drunk driving and the gang-related marking of a girl with a cigarette.
It got worse fast.
Banks was in an SUV that took off after being stopped for speeding in August 2011 a short time after a pair of nearby burglaries. The vehicle flipped during the chase, trapping him and three other men with him inside. Inside the SUV, police said, they recovered more than $20,000 worth of stolen goods.
Superior Court Judge James J. Guida sentenced Banks last week under the plea deal in the assault case to three years of probation and counseling through Alternatives to Domestic Violence after he insisted that he’s trying to turn his life around.
STORY / PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
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