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NCSU guard Markell Johnson ‘cleared to rejoin’ basketball team, school says

N.C. State’s Markell Johnson, center, is not dressed for the Wolfpack’s game against UNCG on Dec. 16.
N.C. State’s Markell Johnson, center, is not dressed for the Wolfpack’s game against UNCG on Dec. 16. ehyman@newsobserver.com

The felony assault charges filed against N.C. State basketball sophomore guard Markell Johnson last month in a Cleveland, Ohio court were dropped Thursday, clearing the way for his suspension to end.

N.C. State spokesman Fred Demarest, in a statement, said the dismissal of the charges means Johnson is eligible to return to the team under the school’s Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts has final say as to when Johnson will return to practice or play in a game for the Wolfpack.

Johnson, 19, was traveling from Cleveland to Raleigh on Thursday and was unavailable for comment. He is not expected to play for N.C. State when the Wolfpack faces No. 19 Clemson on Thursday at 9 p.m. at PNC Arena.

N.C. State’s starting point guard for its first 10 games this season, Johnson was suspended Dec. 14 after he was indicted on the assault charges. He has missed six games, including N.C. State’s first three ACC games. He hasn’t played since N.C. State’s 88-69 win over UMKC on Dec. 9.

Court documents from Cuyahoga County (Ohio) show James S. Gallagher, an assistant prosecuting attorney, signed the state’s motion to dismiss document Thursday. Shelly Ann Roth, a paralegal at the office of John Paris, Johnson’s attorney, said Thursday the charges had been dropped.

After Thursday’s game with Clemson, the Wolfpack plays at No. 3 Virginia at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Johnson, 19, and three co-defendants were indicted Dec. 5 on assault charges stemming from an Oct. 8 incident in Cleveland. Johnson, Demarious Green, Michael Melton and Johnnie Pullum were all charged with assaulting Michael Blackwell, 37, in Cleveland.

Court documents show charges were dropped Thursday against Johnson and Melton. The charges against Green and Pullum remain pending with a Jan. 16 court appearance scheduled.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC

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