Tony Farmer was a blue chip basketball recruit who seemed destined for Division I basketball, but instead the 6-foot-7 high school standout will be spending the next three years in prison.
The Ohio high school star, an 18-year-old senior at Garfield Heights High School, was handed the three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to kidnapping, felony assault, and other crimes, Yahoo! Sports Blog The Dagger reported.
Tony Farmer’s sentence came as a bit of a surprise to those following the trial. After pleading guilty he had a number of teachers, coaches, and family members testify on his behalf. Even the ex-girlfriend he assaulted, Andrea Lane, asked that Farmer not be sent to prison.
“If you give him a chance, he’s in good hands,” Sonny Johnson, Garfield Heights High School’s varsity basketball coach, told the judge, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Joni Wanderstock, one of Tony Farmer’s teachers, also spoke.
“Instead of his massive height, I see his massive heart,” said Wanderstock, Farmer’s English teacher.
Nearly two dozen of those supporters were on hand for the sentencing, including Lane herself. Farmer was convicted of assaulting her in the parking lot of her apartment complex in Bedford Heights, with much of the incident being caught on tape.
As the judge read the sentence, Tony Farmer collapsed to the ground in anguish, with sheriff’s deputies having to hold him. Even Lane was sobbing in the crowed, The Dagger reported.
“I know he was a good person,” she said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I hope he still is.”
Tony Farmer was a consensus top 100 prospect and was being recruited by many successful Division I programs like Ohio State, Xavier, and Michigan State.