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Former Duke forward Lance Thomas being sued for overdue jewelry bill

Sep 7, 2012, 6:29 PM EDT


According to the Associated Press, former Duke forward Lance Thomas is being sued for not paying an outstanding balance on nearly $100,000 worth of custom jewelry he purchased back in 2009 from a New York-based jeweler.

Where does college basketball come into play for the current New Orleans Hornet? The date of purchase (December 21, 2009; Duke beat Gonzaga 76-41 at Madison Square Garden on the 19th of that month), which lands square in the middle of his senior season at Duke.

The Blue Devils went on to win the national title that season, beating Butler 61-59 in the championship game.

According to the report Thomas dropped a $30,000 down payment for five pieces of diamond jewelry that cost a total of $97,800, and the suit was filed back in January in Austin, Texas.

At the time the suit was filed Thomas was a member of the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League.

The firm, Rafaello & Co., caters to celebrities and professional athletes and approved Thomas for a $67,800 line of credit that remains unpaid.

One question from a compliance standpoint isn’t the fact that Thomas made the purchase but rather where that $30,000 came from.

[Rafaello & Co. attorney Mike] Bowers said he’s seen no evidence that anyone other than Thomas was involved in the transaction and he doesn’t know why the Duke player was extended credit for most of the purchase.

“It was a clean, clear-cut transaction between Mr. Thomas and my client, and I don’t see anything that warrants me asking anything beyond that,” Bowers said. “Speaking hypothetically, if he came in on a bicycle with tattered jeans, I doubt seriously he would have been sold jewelry, but I’m not drawing conclusions. The terms here are clear.”

If Thomas received the money from a relative or a person the NCAA terms as an “established family friend” then there’s no issue with the $30,000.

Rule reads as follows:

A student-athlete may receive a loan from an established family friend without such arrangement constituting an extra benefit, provided: [R] (Adopted: 1/11/94)

  1. (a)  The loan is not offered to the student-athlete based in any degree on his or her athletics ability or reputation;
  2. (b)  The individual providing the loan is not considered a representative of the institution’s athletics interests; and
  3. (c)  The relationship between the individual providing the loan and the student-athlete existed prior to the initiation of the student-athlete’s recruitment by the member institution.

As for the remaining $67,800 the question there is whether or not the loan was provided with Thomas’ future earnings as a professional being considered, which is against NCAA rules.

Duke associate athletic director for media relations Jon Jackson informed the AP that the school was aware of the lawsuit and was looking into the matter.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

  1. imforbigblue - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Don’t worry dUKe your safe Just like UNC the NCAA won’t do a damn thing to you but if this was a player on UK boy it would be every where and Cal and UK would be the biggest cheaters ever

  2. jthammerstix - Sep 8, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    Don’t worry troll. Uk and cal still are the biggest cheaters.

    • mazblast - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      Quite possible, but not relevant. UK and Calipari have nothing to do with this story. This is about Thomas and Duke.

  3. imforbigblue - Sep 8, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Don’t worry puke fan along as Cal is at UK dUKe will never win another title again! Can’t wait to play your soft asses this year and put a beat down on you like Ohio state did

  4. gatordontplay - Sep 8, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Lol @ igotblueballs Hating on duke and unc calling them cheaters and denying anything the innocent coach cal does.making false statements about unc and saying we got away with a crime haha hahahaha..Haters gonna hate what can I say.. You wish you had programs like us. You wish you had the #1 program in the past 50 years (unc) (#3 uk). You wish you had 2nc this century get on our level bitch.. Where the best i tell you hahahahaha..Your such a joke

  5. timb12 - Sep 8, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    I don’t see what the player did wrong. If he was extended credit based on his future how is that his fault? Oh and Roger Clemens is cleaner than coach Cal.

  6. jthammerstix - Sep 9, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    Cal was coaching at uk already when duke won in 2010. Remember when you got destroyed by wvu? Had you not been dismantled that game you would’ve played duke and been out classed. Eat a dick big blue you bitch face cocksucker.

  7. gatordontplay - Sep 9, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Its sad that I’m siding with a dook fan but that was awesome my friend

  8. mazblast - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    This story has nothing to do with Calipari, so why are so many people bringing up Kentucky? Let’s keep the UK talk where it belongs, with the inevitable reports about shady dealings involving UK, Cal, and UK recruits.

    This report is about a Duke player, let’s focus on him and Duke. We all know how this will play out, anyway. A school lower on the food chain, one which isn’t featured on national telecasts so often, would be cited for “lack of institutional control” and lose a scholarship, maybe more, while Duke won’t be penalized at all.

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