JayVaughn Pinkston is nearing the end of a yearlong wait to officially begin his career as a Villanova basketball player.
And considering the excitement he is feeling with opening day of the regular season being two weeks away, he's thankful he waited.
"It's going to be fun kicking off my college career, my first college game, so I'm happy," said Pinkston, a freshman who sat out the entire 2010-11 season after being suspended by the university for an incident that occurred Nov. 6, 2010, at an off-campus party.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Pinkston, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged by Upper Merion Township police with two counts each of simple assault and harassment. One simple assault charge was dismissed by a district magistrate.
Police said Pinkston became involved in an argument with several people who attended the party. A fight allegedly broke out and two men were treated for injuries at Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Pinkston took part in an exhibition game for Villanova a few days before the incident but did not play again prior to his suspension by the university on Dec. 6. The penalty prohibited Pinkston from attending classes, and practicing or playing with the team, until June 1.
The case has dragged in the courts but Pinkston's attorney, James D. Famiglio, said Thursday that the district attorney's office has offered Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. Under terms of ARD, Pinkston is on probation for one year and if he stays out of trouble, all charges against him are dismissed and his record is cleared.
The ARD motion was filed as approved on Oct. 17, according to the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court docket, and Famiglio said a court date is pending to make it official. He said all sides in the case have agreed to the provision.
"It's something the D.A.'s office doesn't offer lightly, and they didn't offer it at first," Famiglio said. "It's a satisfactory disposition rather than trying a case and having possibly a good outcome for JayVaughn, but possibly not. We can't predict what the jury will do."
Pinkston said he cannot comment on the case but added that he is "glad that it's behind me."
While Pinkston sat out last season, he worked in a warehouse and coached a youth team of 10-year-olds, which he called "a fun experience helping out, giving back to the kids."
However, he called much of the year "a bad experience."
"It was not being able to play, not being able to be around my teammates," he said. "You realize everything can be taken away within a second.
"It was bad but then again, it was a learning experience, maturity. I've matured a lot. Now I'm more focused on what I want to accomplish."
Pinkston's teammates reached out to him to provide encouragement.
"I didn't talk to him as a teammate, I talked to him as a friend," point guard Maalik Wayns said. "He's my friend before he's my teammate. I talked to him all the time.
"He's handling it well, dealing with it and not worrying about anything, coming back with a fresh slate and a clear head. He's just playing through it."
Pinkston enrolled in summer school when he was eligible to return to campus and worked out all summer with his teammates. He accompanied the Wildcats on their tour of Europe in August.
"The summer was a great transition period for him because he got to play his first games in Europe - no media, nobody's there," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "It was a great experience for him. Of all the guys, he probably struggled the most early and made the most improvement by the end."
Wright called Pinkston "an extremely coachable guy with a really good basketball IQ.
"Off the court, he's very open to learning," he said. "He's just a great kid. He's still got a lot to learn as a freshman, like they all do. But we're really happy with him right now."