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Former NBA player Keon Clark sentenced to eight years in prison

Notable NBA draft bust Keon Clark was sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty to weapons and driving under the influence charges in two separate cases.


"I, uh, did a lot of stuff in my past," Clark tearfully said at his plea hearing in Vermilion County Circuit Court, The News-Gazette reported. "I have to own up to it."


Clark pleaded guilty to two charges in two separate cases and was given four years for each count. He previously faced weapon, drug and traffic-related charges.


The Danville, Ill., native has been in the Vermilion County Jail since Aug. 4, where he was being held on $100,000 bond


Clark was 23 when he became the 13th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft.


He has spoken publicly of his long battle with alcohol, which he says also occurred during his NBA career.


Clark, now 38, says he wasn't prepared mentally to handle the lifestyle of a professional athlete.


"The money, the fame, the fact that I was on TV. People think money will make your life better. Money didn't dissolve my problems. It increased them," he said, adding that he's been getting counseling while he's in custody.


Clark was credited with having served 122 days behind bars on one count and 16 days on the other. Vermilion County Assistant State's Attorney Sandy Lawlyes, who recommended the two consecutive four-year terms, has said that Clark will have to serve 50 percent of his sentence.

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