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Ben McLemore’s AAU coach: I took money from agents

May 4, 2013, 10:06 PM EDT

Kansas Jayhawks McLemore reacts after a dunk against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half in their South Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Arlington Reuters

Ben McLemore surprised nobody when he declared for the NBA draft after just one season at Kansas. His sweet, sweet jumpshot, viewed through the lens of his family’s poverty, made the decision a no-brainer.

There’s nothing wrong with following your talents and earning money when you can. What allegedly went on behind the scenes, on the other hand, could lead to all kinds of trouble.

Eric Prisbell of USA Today wrote an article today, detailing a confession by McLemore’s AAU coach that agents made illicit payments to the coach, in hopes of securing the freshman superstar as a future client.

Darius Cobb, a St. Louis-based AAU coach, told USA TODAY Sports that he accepted two cash payments of $5,000 during the regular season from Rodney Blackstock, the founder and CEO of Hooplife Academy, a sports mentoring organization based in Greensboro, N.C.

Cobb says he also received three all-expense paid trips to Los Angeles — and that a cousin of McLemore’s, Richard Boyd, accompanied him on two of them — for meetings in January and February with sports agents and financial advisers hoping to represent McLemore if he left for the NBA after his redshirt freshman season at Kansas. McLemore, 20, declared for the NBA draft on April 9.

Later in the article, Boyd denies any wrongdoing. USA Today claims sources and evidence support some of Cobb’s statements, and the University of Kansas acknowledged they had been notified of the allegations and refused to comment further.

It’s a tangled story, and you owe it to yourself to read the entire article. Cobb appears to be coming forth in hopes of protecting McLemore, but the whole thing is very murky. As is so often true when agents and money enter the picture alongside talented young basketball players.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

  1. latemoney - May 4, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    He was going pro anyway. The $10k was for more than getting him to submit his name in the draft. I’m sure these clowns who paid the coach aren’t stupid enough to pay him simply to submit his name. LateMoney says more to come on this story.

  2. melkipershero - May 5, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Anyone else think this is a non-story?

  3. saint1997 - May 5, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    Could anything bad come of this for Ben??

  4. glink123 - May 5, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    All the more reason to pay these players up-front, in full view of all, from the $12 billion in annual revenue that is generated off the backs of these “student-athletes”. To those who say claim a paid scholarship is fair compensation, tell that to the 18 year-old freshman superstar who can’t afford to buy the $99 jersey being sold by the NCAA online gift store, that has his OWN name on the back.

  5. packhawk04 - May 5, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Ive said it before… pay the players. The schools that get the big paydays from bowl games and ncaa tourney revenue are really in luck because they can pay more. Eliminate the other 10-15 athletic programs that are funded with that money. Eliminate the basketball and football programs that wont ever be competitive so theres just the same 80 schools each year. Love it. Why hasnt this been done already?

    Sarcasm off

  6. glink123 - May 5, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    …or, you could simply cap the NCAA football coaching salary at $3 million per year, and use the extra $2 million per year on giving the players a $500 a month stipend. Problem solved.

  7. chex1868 - May 5, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Calipari thinks this is petty.

  8. sportsbastard - May 6, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    “Yeah, well, I always heard there were three kinds of suns in Kansas, sunshine, sunflowers, and sons-of-b****es”. -Josey Wales

  9. noonelistensanyway - May 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Welcome to the world of big time sports!!!

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