Pierce faces up to 56 years in prison if convicted

ADEL, Iowa -- Former Iowa basketball star Pierre Pierce
pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he assaulted his
ex-girlfriend and ransacked her home.

His trial must begin by mid-May. If convicted on all charges,
Pierce could be sentenced to up to 56 years in prison and fined

He was charged in February with two counts of burglary, assault
with intent to commit sexual assault and criminal mischief. The
burglary and assault charges are felonies. Fourth-degree criminal
mischief is a serious misdemeanor.

Police say Pierce choked his former girlfriend at her home in
West Des Moines on Jan. 27, threatened her with a knife and
stripped her, according to court documents. He also was charged
with stealing a laptop and camera.

Pierce was dismissed from the team Feb. 2, two days after police
named him a suspect. He was the Hawkeyes' leading scorer at the