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Washington State reinstates Casto for NIT game

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 8:35 PM

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State's DeAngelo Casto will be allowed to play when Washington State takes on Northwestern in the quarterfinals of the NIT on Wednesday evening.

Athletic director Bill Moos said new information has prompted him to lift the suspension that was imposed on Casto on Tuesday after he was cited for marijuana possession.

"In reviewing new information that has been brought to my attention, I am removing DeAngelo's suspension effective immediately," Moos said. He did not detail the new information.

Moos said there are unique circumstances in this case and the best path is to allow the legal system to run its course before the team takes any additional action.

Washington State (21-12) hosts Northwestern (20-13), and the winner will advance to the semifinals in New York. Casto, who averages 12 points and nearly seven rebounds per game, is Washington State's top inside player.

"We appreciate that (Moos) is going to allow everything to be looked at," said Tim Esser, attorney for Casto, who has predicted the case will be dismissed.

Casto pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Whitman County District Court.

Casto is the third prominent basketball player on the WSU team to be suspended this season after being cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Leading scorer Klay Thompson and point guard Reggie Moore earlier served one-game suspensions.

The latest incident began early Tuesday, after WSU's win over Oklahoma State in the second round of the NIT.

A Pullman police officer was on foot patrol near an apartment complex, and noticed a screen had been removed from an apartment window. As he approached, he said he saw a man inside the apartment who appeared to be rolling a marijuana cigarette, police said.

The officer smelled marijuana when Casto answered the door, police said. Police said Casto acknowledged using the drug and handed over a small amount to the officer.

Later Tuesday, Casto was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The charges typically involve sentences of one day in jail and a fine that usually ranges between $250 and $500.

© 2011 The Associated Press