Ben McLemore says he'd speak with NCAA about AAU coach
Amid allegations NBA prospect Ben McLemore's AAU coach took cash and other illicit benefits, the former Kansas star said he'll talk to NCAA investigators.
Two weeks ago news broke that Ben McLemore's AAU coach, Darius Cobb, admitted accepting $10,000 and other benefits prohibited by the NCAA from Rodney Blackstock, CEO of Hooplife Academy in Greensboro, N.C., according to USA Today.
Blackstock, who Cobb said had provided guidance both to him and to the McLemore family, presumably hoped to become McLemore's agent once he left Kansas. Blackstock also arranged all-expenses-paid meetings with sports agents for Cobb in Los Angeles, according to Cobb.
Cobb told the newspaper McLemore knew little to nothing about the benefits he'd received from Blackstock nor what USA Today called Blackstock's "financial involvement in the player's life."
No evidence has emerged showing Blackstock and/or Cobb gave McLemore money, but McLemore has confirmed his relationship with Blackstock, according to report Friday in USA Today. Blackstock and McLemore are still close, while Cobb has been ex-communicated from McLemore's circle since the story came out.
The NCAA prohibits college athletes, their families and associates, including coaches, from accepting money and other benefits from agents or their representatives.
Attending the NBA predraft combine in Chicago this week, McLemore told Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis he would speak to NCAA investigators if asked.
"I would tell them the truth and tell them what I know, and just cooperate with them," McLemore said at the NBA's predraft combine. "Hopefully they'll cooperate with me and hear my side." ...
McLemore said he felt both shock and betrayal when he heard that Cobb had gone public with these allegations.
"My reaction was like, 'Wow,' " he said. "That was someone that I could trust, and I put a person in my circle that I felt comfortable with and I know a long time that I wanted to help me through this process [of selecting an agent]. And for him to say the things he did and put that out there like that, I wish it wasn't true ... [Cobb] put me in jeopardy and my family in jeopardy. ... I didn't see no money going around. My mom hasn't seen no money going around. We don't know nothing about it."
A lot of questions remain about what the case might mean for Kansas. KU athletics director Sheahon Zenger has said the university is looking into Cobb's admissions, but wouldn't comment beyond that.
McLemore is expected to be a top-five pick in June's NBA Draft.
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