Olden Polynice, who has been asked by Virginia basketball coach Terry Holland to give up his scholarship for next season, probably will turn professional, according to his brother, Widmark Polynice.
He said Olden Polynice, a 6-foot-11 center who was Virginia's leading scorer last year, had talked to him earlier this week about playing professional basketball if he is unable to play for Virginia next season. "Olden said he would probably become a free agent and go to the pros; either that or go to Europe and play professionally," Widmark Polynice said today from his home in New York City. "Then later he'd come back and get his degree."
However, John Lowe, Olden Polynice's Charlottesville attorney, said today his client would not turn professional until he finishes school. "Olden's priorities are still to finish school and graduate with his class," he said. "That's what he will do."
Olden Polynice, who was not available to comment today, would not be eligible for the National Basketball Association's 1986-87 season even if he dropped out of school, according to Brian McIntyre, NBA director of public relations.
"Prior to this year's draft, he did not renounce his college eligibility, so he would have to wait until next year's draft, no matter what," he said.
However, Polynice could play in the Continental Basketball Association or in Europe.
Polynice was given a 30-day suspended sentence Thursday in General District Court here after pleading no contest to a charge of shoplifting a $17 set of headphones from a local department store.
Holland issued a statement Thursday that read, in part: "On June 25, I notified Olden and his parents by letter that I was recommending that Olden's scholarship for the 1986-87 school year not be renewed."
Widmark Polynice said he talked to his brother after Thursday's sentencing. "He wasn't feeling upset or anything about it," he said. "He was okay. We didn't talk again about Polynice turning pro , but I don't think he's changed."
Widmark Polynice also said his brother told him that he would talk to Holland once more before making up his mind.
Holland is on a recruiting trip and could not be reached for comment.
According to Widmark Polynice, at one point after the shoplifting incident, "Holland had asked him to sit out a year, and then pay for school his fifth year and play for the team. But Olden said he's not going to do it."
Polynice declared himself eligible for the NBA draft a day after the shoplifting charge was filed on April 30. He changed his mind the next day and said he would stay at Virginia.
Widmark Polynice said he had read the letter his parents were sent by Holland, and it said that Polynice would not be reinstated to the team and that Holland had recommended that Polynice's athletic scholarship not be renewed.
"It said that people at Virginia were losing a lot of respect for him, like his teammates," Widmark said. " My parents were upset about Olden not being able to play."
In another development, Virginia officials declined to say whether Polynice would face a second student honor trial. Sean Folan, chairman of the university's honors committee, said the shoplifting conviction would not necessarily mean another honor trial for Polynice.
In 1984, Polynice was found innocent of an honors violation even though he had admitted turning in another student's term paper. Had he been found guilty by the student-run honor court, he would have been expelled.
"I can tell you that no one is ever automatically just brought up," Folan told United Press International. "No matter what had happened, the actual trial has no bearing on what happens over here. If he had been found innocent over there, someone could bring it up over here."
Under the university's honor code, only a student can bring up allegations against a fellow student. Folan, citing the honor code's confidentiality guidelines, declined to say whether Polynice had been charged with a second honors offense.