CLEVELAND -- One of the nation's top basketball recruits collapsed in the courtroom Tuesday after finding out he'd be heading to prison instead of back to the basketball court.
FOX 8 cameras were rolling for the emotional pleas for mercy, including words offered by the victim.
Tony Farmer was a standout at Garfield Heights and considered a superstar in the making, one of the country's top 100 recruits. Major colleges came knocking on his door when he was in the 10th grade.
Farmer fell to the court floor when a Cuyahoga County judge sentenced him to three years in prison for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Andrea Lane.
There is video of Farmer assaulting Lane, dragging her by the hair and striking her as she cowered in a corner at a Bedford Heights apartment building.
Judge Pamela Barker said of the video: "Lane is literally cowering in a corner and she is trying to push him away from her. And ultimately, then, he, hits her in the head several times as she is cowered in that corner. That’s what the court witnessed on those videotapes, and that does not incorporate, as far as I understand, is all that took place because this was within the confines of the apartment complex.
Despite what she went through, Lane told the court that Farmer does not belong in prison. His coach, Sonny Johnson, spoke for Farmer, as well.
"I don't know what type of help he needs. I don't know what was wrong with him that day. I know he was a good person. I hope he still is. I hope he learns from this," Lane said.
"I'm here to say with my heart, that this young man, if you give him an opportunity, in five years from now, he's gonna make you proud. I know it. I know him," Johnson said.
In addition to the prison sentence, Farmer also got probation. Judge Barker said he can apply for early release after serving 180 days.