Canisius assistant faces charges

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Lazare Adingono, who coached the Cameroon national basketball team in the Olympic qualifying tournament last year, has been arrested on charges of using a belt to beat his 4-year-old son.

Buffalo Police Department spokesman Michael DeGeorge said Friday that Adingono was arrested on Feb. 10 on a felony charge of second-degree assault and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. The Erie County district attorney's office is investigating and has yet to determine whether to pursue the case against Adingono, who also is a former Rhode Island player.

The 31-year-old Adingono lives in Buffalo, where he is in his third year as an assistant men's coach at Canisius College.

The Buffalo News first reported Adingono's arrest on Friday morning.

The alleged beating took place at Adingono's home in Buffalo on Jan. 15. He is accused of using a belt to strike his son numerous times, causing pain and swelling to the boy's back, neck and arm, DeGeorge said.

According to a police report, Adingono's wife, Maureen, then took her son and traveled to Rhode Island where the boy was examined at a hospital. Rhode Island authorities became involved and contacted Buffalo police, prompting an investigation, DeGeorge said.

Officials were not sure whether Adingono is represented by a lawyer. Adingono could not be reached for comment. His phone number is not listed.

Canisius vice president for student affairs Ellen Conley said the school is aware of Adingono's case.

"This is a difficult time and a very personal situation for Lazare and his family," Conley said. "Because it is not directly related to his work responsibilities, the college will not comment on it."

Conley declined to say whether Adingono remains on the Canisius coaching staff, though he was on the bench for the Golden Griffins' last game at Loyola, Md., on Monday. Canisius plays at Bowling Green on Saturday.

A native of Cameroon, he previously played on the national team before taking over as coach. In 2007, he coached the squad to win a silver medal -- the nation's first in 34 years- at the FIBA Africa Championships and clinched a berth in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens the following year.

Cameroon was knocked out of the qualifying tournament after losing both preliminary-round games. Adingono's current status with the national team is unclear.

Numerous phone and e-mail messages left with FIBA, basketball's international governing body, and officials listed with the Cameroon Basketball Federation were not immediately returned.