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Originally published May 6, 2013 at 10:39a.m., updated May 7, 2013 at 12:22a.m.

Ben McLemore’s former AAU coach says KU knew nothing about middleman

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives against North Carolina guard Reggie Bullock during the first half, Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives against North Carolina guard Reggie Bullock during the first half, Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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Darius Cobb, the former AAU coach of Ben McLemore who in a Saturday USA Today story confessed to receiving money from a middleman who wanted to get close to the star Kansas University basketball player, offered one additional point in a news release Monday.

Cobb, speaking through Coburn Enterprise, LLC of Florissant, Mo., said KU officials knew nothing about middleman Rodney Blackstock’s paying Cobb $10,000 and travel expenses, despite the fact Blackstock attended three KU games using complimentary tickets on McLemore’s KU pass list.

“I want the media, KU Fans, and public to know University of Kansas, Head Coach Bill Self, nor any members of the Athletic Department had any knowledge or involvement,” Cobb said in an exact wording of his statement.

Cobb has been unable to reach McLemore; the KU player has reportedly changed his phone number, and McLemore’s mother has changed her number. Cobb wants to get word to McLemore that Blackstock is not a licensed agent. The release, in fact, refers to Blackstock as an “alleged agent.”

Cobb believes it is possible McLemore plans to have Blackstock represent him and says McLemore needs to know he is not licensed. Cobb also wants other players and their families to be warned Blackstock is not an agent.

Cobb, in the release, says Blackstock gave him money to give to the McLemore family, because he wanted Cobb to steer McLemore toward Blackstock, which has happened. Cobb, 41, has known McLemore since the player was in the sixth grade, and he began coaching McLemore when the player was 15 years old. Cobb no longer has any contact with McLemore or his mom, with Blackstock apparently winning an advising role. Blackstock has been unavailable for comment.

A couple of media representatives say the story isn’t much of one.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas tweeted: “McLemore ‘controversy’ laughably silly: Arrogant of NCAA to call others ‘3rd parties’ as if only NCAA should profit.”

Andy Glockner of SI.com also can’t get fired up about the story.

“I can’t shake my initial opinion of it, which was basically a shrug,” Glockner writes.

Glockner adds: “The headline certainly is enticing enough, with a future high lottery pick and a blueblood program and ‘runners’” for agents prominently involved. But the allegations — that McLemore’s AAU coach took a couple of $5,000 payments and some all-expense paid trips from an apparent runner who wanted the coach’s help in trying to steer McLemore toward particular agents — has nothing to do with Kansas, and very well has nothing directly to do with McLemore, either.

“There is no evidence at this point that anything connected to this issue has anything to do with the Jayhawks’ program. It has nothing to do with how Kansas landed McLemore, and to this point, it has very little to do with McLemore, specifically.”

To read Glockner’s story go to http://bit.ly/11OVljv

McLemore, who has been unavailable for comment, tweeted this Sunday: “Keep them squares out your circle. You got people that’s around you They gone try they best to down you Keep them squares up out your circle.”

Ticket price increase: For the first time in five seasons, season-ticket prices have increased for KU basketball. The price for Tier 1 season tickets for the 2013-14 season is $1,600 (up from $1,255). Tier 2 seats will cost $1,225 (from $1,155), and Tier 3 is $925 (from $855).

Season tickets for the 2013-14 Kansas men’s basketball season go on sale online at 9 a.m. Thursday at kuathletics.com. Applications are being mailed this week to Williams Education Fund donors and season ticket holders. The deadline to order season tickets is July 19. Actual seat locations will be determined through Select-A-Seat. To participate in Select-A-Seat, ticket orders must be received by July 19. Fans choose their seats based on their Priority Point total. Select-A-Seat will be held at KU August 12-16.

Comments

chancevandal1 1 year, 7 months ago

I have no comment either....but I did post first

martyks 1 year, 7 months ago

At least KU can make a case that these trips actually were in complete conflict with the interests of KU Basketball... It was about luring Mc away from KU... so obviously, KU was hurt by those trips, not helped. I know... the NCAA could care less... money exchanged hands... so therefore, someone needs to be punished.

stinkybulldog 1 year, 7 months ago

How is this Bill Self's fault? Don't compare Self to Calipari.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 7 months ago

How have you not been banned from this site yet?

Woody Cragg 1 year, 7 months ago

I think your handle should be the Big "A". It just fits better.

Matt Bowers 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe the connection is that HCBS has taken Kansas to the Final Four twice and Calipari has had to vacate two Final Four appearances. That's it, there is the connection.

Rock Chalk

jayhawks911 1 year, 7 months ago

Sounds like to me Cobb doesn't want McLemore to sign with Blackstone. Perhaps another agent is paying this AAU coach too?

archercc 1 year, 7 months ago

Sounds like Cobb wanted more money for "finding" Ben an agent and is pissed that the family cut his ass off for it.

This is nothing but a jilted lover story. Hopefully this ruins Cobb's career. He is obviously full of it, "I took the money and free trips and then announced it on ESPN and brought controversy on the family and school for their protection." Dude is such a piece of S.

bennybob 1 year, 7 months ago

Gary Parrish had an interesting article over on CBS. Looks like Cobb successfully extorted what he wanted from the situation and his silence has now been bought.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/eye-on-college-basketball/22202457/this-ben-mclemore-case-is-complicated-and-a-tough-test-for-the-ncaa

VaJay 1 year, 7 months ago

Good article BB. I hope the NCAA reads it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

DRsmith 1 year, 7 months ago

And the NCAA replies, "We don't care"

kcmojayhawker 1 year, 7 months ago

Who know's what the NCAA will do, but remember the infamous Myron Piggie from KC and Rush brothers fame? AAU has some bad apples that make the following of the rules in recruiting tougher. Cobb was trying to make himself some money too, getting his cut. Whatever happened to "doing the right thing?"

Davoud Maha 1 year, 7 months ago

I know this does not have anything to do with KU but I hope this does not effect Bill self or KU or our recruiting. I bet this crap happens all the time with all first draft candidates and now someone is trying to screw with us to damage our name.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 7 months ago

It shouldn't. KU didn't profit from it, the coach was trying to steer him to a certain agent for his pro career, not a certain school.

Wheatgerm 1 year, 7 months ago

Think this will have any effect on Wiggins' decision? Even if you feel nothing might come of it, the uncertainty has to be a negative.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

NOW it's sounding like this is all coming out because Cobb doesn't want Mc to go with Blackstock (being an unlicensed agent).

I think this might've all been kept quiet if Mc was looking at someone else to be his agent.

archercc 1 year, 7 months ago

Except that Cobb was taking money to be Blackstocks penis warmer before. He is just mad because he did his job and wanted more from the agent or the family.

jay381 1 year, 7 months ago

Well worth the read. I was going to post the link. I had read the Doyel piece first. I especially liked the following paragraph: From the Doyel piece: Someone should pay, obviously: the leeches. The people handing out the money. The people accepting the money. That's fraud of a scholarship, which could be a federal offense. Whatever it is, it should be illegal and the leeches should be punished by something as serious as the courts, not something as toothless as the NCAA.

I am not so sure Calipari was as innocent as he is portrayed in Memphis where I live.

Wheatgerm 1 year, 7 months ago

Great link. Thanks. Love Doyel. He shoots straight and doesn't mince words.

John Infante's piece is well worth reading, too. He's an expert on NCAA rules. http://www.athleticscholarships.net/2013/05/05/tangled-mclemore-saga-unlikely-to-end-well.htm

Stephan123 1 year, 7 months ago

Looks like KU or another entity let this dimwit, former AAU coach know that his B.S. could get him sued.

phins13td 1 year, 7 months ago

Moving right along. So sick of all this negative news.

What was ever done about the Duke player on the 2010 championship team? Anything?

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/09/09/2328346/ncaa-duke-aware-of-lawsuit-brought.html

Who knows what the NCAA fools will do here. Its just one big joke.

jay381 1 year, 7 months ago

You are totally correct. I did not see it in this article but a couple of weeks ago I read in one of the major publications the NCAA did NOT EVEN INTERVIEW Coach K before arriving at their decision Duke would not be sanctioned.

Steve Gantz 1 year, 7 months ago

Doyle mentions it in the article linked above.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

In all of this it sounds like the two guiltiest parties in order would be:

1) Blackstock 2) the AAU coach

Prior to this latest release I'd've gone the other way around.

HAWKS1 1 year, 7 months ago

Cobb speaks as though he is being benevolent and a stand up guy for the McLemores. The best way to be a stand up guy would have been to tell Blackstock and his ilk to take a hike and throw the money back in his face! Now that the damage has been done he tries to make himself look like a good guy and a hero to the family....give me a break! The sleaze of big-time basketball's underworld can overshadow the greatness of the game and the legitimate institutions and players that work their tails off to do things right. It's a shame but will, unfortunately, continue as long as there is a buck to be made by those willing to take it no matter the consequences.

actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

You said it, Hawks1. The more that Cobb tries to pretend he's doing this out of the goodness of his heart, the worse he looks. I mean, seriously, is there a person on the planet who actually BELIEVES that he's trying to protect McLemore and that's the only reason he talked to USA Today? How utterly ridiculous.

selfhimbill 1 year, 7 months ago

If I find out Jaybate is involved in this mess I'm going to cut him off the comped ticket list.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

The ones that I would feel THE MOST sorry for would be the entire KU roster - coaches, asst. coaches, ex- & current players if it was forced by the NCAA for KU to have to vacate numerous games from Jan. or Feb. on or whatever last season.

I would about 75-90% still be ok w/ Ben, but the whole bowling party thing and seemingly "financial assistance to the family" would be too fishy for me to not question.

Davoud Maha 1 year, 7 months ago

That will never happen. This has NOTHING to do with KU .

actorman 1 year, 7 months ago

KUAlltheWay, have you forgotten what institution we're dealing with here? Since when does the fact that it has nothing to do with KU have ANYTHING to do with how the NCAA will rule? They make ludicrous, completely illogical rulings all the time. Let's just hope they don't do it this time.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Accept that the agent was on the guest pass list 3, count'em 3 times. That's not good monitoring of your players. That has a lot, A LOT to do with KU AD.

Micky Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

In my opinion, this is a reflection more on the corruption in the AAU than anything else. Stop being bought off AAU coaches. You shouldn't be involved with anyone but the players you coach. Got it? It's not hard to say no.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 7 months ago

This is truly a non story. In fact, I'm sure every potential top pick as had an issue related to this. Somehow the NCAA will lack common sense and punish us for actions they cannot prove. What the NCAA agent needs to do is take this agent to court. If they have a legal case against him of course. Hopefully resulting in his license being taken from him. 2nd, if the coach was trying to be the good guy, then he shouldn't have taken the money. Hes not the bad guy because he needs to be (who does he think he is? Batman?) but because he is the bad guy. 3rd, if the cousin is guilty of taking stuff, then B Mac needs to get him out of his life. Sounds like someone who is trying to bank in on his success.

The common sense to handle this is out there, however the NCAA has proved to lack that quality. If this was B Mac taking money, it would be completely different. But because he didn't, NCAA needs to go after they guys who are breaking the rules, not the ones who aren't.

BainDread 1 year, 7 months ago

Actions they cannot prove? If one particular part of the story is true, a signed credit card receipt from the bowling alley will be probably not be that difficult for the NCAA to obtain and will be the smoking gun that will result in KU forfeiting all games from that time on.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Accept if Mom sent the cousin on the trip to monitor the coach.

bad_dog 1 year, 7 months ago

The word is "except" when you intend to exclude something. It's "accept" when you receive something.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

I like the line of reasoning, even if civil cases are hard to actually get money out of (according to my counsel). The really challenging factor in this case is that KU and our players invited the coach and agent to games. Signed off on them having tickets - 3 times.

bad_dog 1 year, 7 months ago

Civil judgments generally are not hard to collect upon unless the defendant is"judgment proof", i.e. too poor to pay, files bankruptcy and has the debt discharged, or has cash flow "under the table" to rely upon. Even uncollected, monetary judgments can still ruin credit and hamper employment opportunities. Even if cash poor, judgment debtors often have assets that can be liquidated to fully or partially satisfy satisfy judgments.

In this case the message sent is likely just as important, if not more so, than collecting a judgment. I believe KU should also weigh their chances vs. the NCAA if they are shown to be without culpability in the matter, yet are handed sanctions. I believe the NCAA is as vulnerable to a rebellion, nay mutiny, as they have ever been. Arrgh! Make them walk the plank, KU!

BayPark 1 year, 7 months ago

Sadly, it doesn't matter if KU and Self had nothing to do with it. It will sully our reputation nonetheless.

Robert Brock 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, just as the 2014 Evaluation Period is gaining speed. I am going to the third leg of EYBL play - in Dallas - and I was hoping to watch a new crop of excellent KU prospects. Now that KU has been smeared, I feel less positive about our chances with kids like Tyus Jones.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Agreed. BUT like I'd said all along.....Jones going to Duke could very well likely mean Josh Perkins for us. And I'd be PLENTY happy about landing him anyway. Most had Michigan State as the 2nd most likely place for Jones / J. Okafor but they've expressed interest in itty-bitty 5'-9 Ulis. Among Perkins's schools he's interested in Duke was the only one not to extend an offer and they most likely will NOT if they land Tyus Jones. SEEMINGLY, we've been 2nd in Perkins's pecking order. He's also talked about wanting to declare early, but he probably won't make a decision until Jones does. I'd be surprised if Jones / J. Okafor make a late decision, I suspect they'll do it much like the Harrison twins did - kind of late in the Fall period. Wouldn't surprise me at all if Perkins announces EXTREMELY shortly thereafter - in addition to other PGs & maybe a couple of C's.....a whole bowling pin / domino type of situation.

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 7 months ago

I really think this is a non-issue as the facts become reiterated. Our recruits won't know or care. Remember, UK gets players in droves.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

My question is this: Does Ben have a subscription to USA Today? Is this why, instead of just calling the family, sending a letter or e-mail, that Mr. Cobb decided to warn Ben through a major national media outlet?

And again, beware anyone positioning themselves as Joan of Arc.

Steve Gantz 1 year, 7 months ago

Totally unrelated to the article, but look at the picture of BMAC and the UNC player. I wonder if there was a foul called?

Steve Gantz 1 year, 7 months ago

I've been thinking there should be a professional sports major, mainly for our athletes. That really might go a long ways to educating these kids on the business side of what they're doing and help them avoid the leeching scumsucking snakes out there.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 months ago

KU is in a potential no win situation here:

1] If the decision is rendered that we are at fault, we will lose victories, receive sanctions and take a hit on our reputation.

2] If we are exonerated by the NCAA, we will take a hit that as an "elite program" that makes a lot of money for the NCAA, we were given a pass and a wink thus still hurting our reputation.

"No Comment" may be the best damage control we should employ at this time!! It would be great if the NCAA did the same.

optimist 1 year, 7 months ago

At this point there doesn't even appear to be any evidence that McLemore even knew about this. The leeches should be ashamed of themselves and the NBA, NCAA and AAU need to work together to clean this up. There should be sanctions on those that violate the rules and each of these organizations should work together to share information about bad actors and hold those bad actors accountable. These sanctions could include banning them from holding positions at any of the three organizations which will in turn exclude them from working in high school programs for fear that they might negatively effect a high school athletes eligibility. They should also lobby for legislation that might criminalize any behavior that can be considered criminal. In some cases fraud is occurring. Until the bad actors have a consequence that matches the potential rewards this will continue. Until we know for sure it is appropriate to give the player and the coach the benefit of the doubt but if it is found that they were involved the consequences should be stiff.

Jack Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

"Crimson and blue colored glasses ALERT"

Usually this is reserved for the signing of an unranked/low ranked body for depth purposes. The Merv Lindsay files. But now it's regarding potential NCAA violations.

Why are so many so quick to simply dispel the potential ramifications of this whole episode? Just because you may not want it to come out negatively, doesn't mean it won't. It's akin to hearing a strange noise at night and hiding under the covers. The noise was still real. And it might be a dude with a chainsaw. But it might not.

Clearly, beyond any dispute, this episode violates the letter of the NCAA law, right?

And it is beyond any dispute that the NCAA deals with these things on a case by case basis, right?

I do understand that the NCAA may not think this is worth a penalty. Maybe. But we don't know if that will be the "case by case" decision here.

That is the unfortunate, and uncertain reality.

Jason Keller 1 year, 7 months ago

Don't worry, Calipari will tell everyone to drop it after Wiggins signs with UK.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

LOL - love that reply. Gave it my "Like".

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

The sound in the middle of the night almost never turns out to be a guy with a chainsaw.

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

But still be VERY careful on any canoe trip where you hear banjo music.....

JayHok 1 year, 7 months ago

Blackstock is a complete scum. He's been trying to one-up Worldwide Wes for a couple years behind the scenes. He's never really done much publically but talks a big game. To WWW's credit at least he can pull ACTUAL strings albeit grey area ones. I'm sure this isn't the case, Cobb probably is telling the truth, but what if an AAU coach and a wanna-be agent were fans of another program or trying to gain favor with a Coach like Calipari who has all the agent ties and wanted to put out a bad headline? Neither gets in trouble and their lie is taken as fact. Think about it. What if Calipari actually begins to get concerned about losing the recruiting battle someday. What could he have somebody do behind the scenes that isn't prove able that helps him land a #1 recruit over another program. The point is if the money part of this story is made up by Cobb and Blackstock there is only one person this benefits immediately this summer. Calipari. And nobody gets in trouble because even if the 10,000 is "true", there's nothing illegal about it regarding their day to day lives as USA citizens. The other person this "story" benefits greatly down the road is Blackstock the biggest behind the scenes wanna-be in college basketball because he would then have a huge reason to deal with Calipari and his connections down the road which after earning credentials to be an agent would pay off in major financial ways.

Jason Keller 1 year, 7 months ago

I've been saying this all along. The timing is too perfect and the motive is simply puzzling.

JayHok 1 year, 7 months ago

The second point is this is not a proveable offense. Any one of us could be quoted saying we paid an AAU coach $10,000 for a kid who eventually went to Kentucky. As fans of another program who are not yet certified agents, not associated with Calipari, I wonder why we would say something like this? Golly what kind of momentum could it give us especially in a recruiting battle if the papers picked it up? What kind of trouble could we get in? None, even if it was true! Who could get in trouble? Calipari! So who is Cobb really trying to affect with this story? I'll tell you one person it affects unless people see through the B.S. here: Self! The last point is Blackstock though a complete scum who plays nice to prospective clients, is not a registered agent. That's a fact. By NCAA law McLemore could give four tickets a game to friends and family. Facts are facts. This guy was trying awfully hard to become McLemore's friend but hadn't come close to becoming a certified agent.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe he's got Nike connections!!!! :) Bring down the Adidas programs!!! :) Conspiracy theories gone crazy.

Next thing you know there's some big to do involving Russ Smith or something.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

I've heard that the Newton Rule redefined "agent" in such a way that would include Blackstock. I think it is the Infante article that discusses it.

Tippyhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

I have 2 questions that maybe somebody/anybody can answer for me.

A) What does Bill Self, Kansas basketball, Big 12 gain from McClemore jumping to the NBA early?

B) What restriction are there for student/athletes in regards to who they can give their tickets to?

Alex Peekeaton 1 year, 7 months ago

The "Kentucky" conspiracy!!! I love it!!! Haven't heard of a better one since Hillary Clinton's "Right-Wing" conspiracy during the Lewinsky scandal!!!

texashawk10 1 year, 7 months ago

It's still way too early in the process to speculate what will happen to KU. It could be anywhere from no punishment to vacating wins, loss of scholarships, probation, and lack of institutional control. Because the parties the NCAA will try to investigate are under absolutely no obligation to speak to the NCAA, the best case scenario is that nobody cooperates and NCAA has no choice but to not hand down any punishment because they can't prove anything beyond Cobb's statements.

JayHok 1 year, 7 months ago

How is it proven? This is an NBA wanna-be agent trying to get a player. From the NCAA's perspective if a case is made this easily then the entire coaching community could be blackmailed by stories that are true or not. All it takes is an AAU coach an aspiring wanna-be agent to take down Calipari then. "Hey look I'm an almost agent and I paid my AAU coach friend ten grand and it wasnt for him to go to Kentucky but it was to steer him towards my agency in twelve months. Sure hope Calipari's program doesnt get in trouble because that isn't my intention i just wanted people to know the truth." All the two people involved in this truth/non truth have to agree on is that one of them paid the other $10,000. Doesn't matter of it happened or not. Show us the cash records or there is no case with the NCAA. The money needs to be seen otherwise this is like any other attempt at blackmail.

eric poncharello 1 year, 7 months ago

Repeating what he said in the USA Today article, Cobb added: “I don’t want to hurt the McLemore family, I want to protect the family. If there had to be a bad guy, if there had to be a fall guy, let it be me, as opposed to ruining a great kid who has busted his butt to get where he is. Let me be the crooked AAU coach. I was willing to take the brunt of it for the sake of this kid. I wanted to keep him pure.” Sounds like a child molester talking like he is still mister nice guy with the kids. MY opinion, He is nothing but a N!@#$%! With N!@#$%!!

wileykufan 1 year, 7 months ago

Typically sanctions are levied when a school knows about a situation and does nothing (ie Rose) or a benefit to the student athlete or his family (occasionally friends) has been proven.

We know that Ben did not benefit directly from this - but if his uncle (who took some players out for some Bowling for Ben's birthday) received a benefit it is possible that the birthday party could be viewed as an "impermissible benefit" although I think that is a HUGE stretch.

I don't see how Blackstock giving Cobb $$ is an issue unless McLemore actually signed with Blackstock or someone associated with Blackstock. Or am I missing something here?

If Cobb, however, was the one who took Ben and the players out for bowling this could get a bit messier

Wheatgerm 1 year, 7 months ago

What do you think Memphis knew about Rose? Memphis investigated and found nothing. The NCAA investigated and declared Rose eligible. Memphis relied on that finding. As far as everyone was concerned, Rose was an eligible player for the entire year.

It was only after the season was over that the ETS declared Rose's test score invalid, and not because of fraud, because he did not respond to two letters sent to his Chicago home. It invalidated his score for noncooperation. Like Lance Thomas at Duke and now Ben McLemore, Rose was under no obligation to talk. But that didn't save Memphis from having to vacate an entire season.

So again, what did Memphis know?

It couldn't have known that the ETS would invalidate his SAT score after the season was over due to noncooperation (not academic fraud).

Dyrk Dugan 1 year, 7 months ago

this "coach" needs to shut up. period. he's already talked too much as it is.

the article above says "said Kansas University officials knew nothing about middleman Rodney Blackstock’s involvement with Cobb, despite the fact Blackstock attended three KU games using complimentary tickets on McLemore’s KU pass list."

who's "fact" is that? Cobb's? KU's? Bill Self's? i don't think you can state that that is a fact. if he did attend the games as McLemore's guest, then how could KU or Bill Self (which in this case, is one and the same) not know about it?

that's why i'm saying he needs to zip it. this is stupid. it's a bizarre story as it is...but then to say things are "facts", and it contradicts other statements, is completely silly.

he's protecting Ben? how could he be protecting Ben, releasing all of this nonsense at this time? the only one hurt here is KU....Ben McLemore couldn't care less...he's done with us....he's gone.

these revelations and statements, can only hurt KU....if he's ruled ineligible by the NCAA because of all of this, then bye bye Big 12 title, and NCAA wins. it could blow our NCAA streak, and would blow our Big 12 title streak.

as i've posted before: the bday party is the key. if this Blackstock character paid for it, and it can be shown that he did, it's over.

I flipping hate all of this: if we go down for this, it's truly sad, because it's so petty. these guys know all the rules....ignorance is definitely no excuse. but my gosh, how in the world, do we NOT know who are the people on the players' guest list? that's stunning to me.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

On target accept for "....Ben McLemore couldn't care less...he's done with us....he's gone."

Ben cares even more than is good for him. Even more than the players that come back year after year. Even more than alums that come back decades after decade. Ben cares tons. Bank on it.

BCRavenJHawkfan 1 year, 7 months ago

Well if we think about this long enough all kinds of paranoid thinking arises. I do remember when BMac had the press conference declaring for the NBA Self mentioned that Ben needs to watch out for people coming out of the woodwork claiming to have his best interest in mind. I hope that was pure coincedence and not foreshadowing.

The AAU angle does offer an interesting idea however. Seeing how this Cobb character is one of several in the AAU ranks with more interest in money than the development of the players, and how agents (wanna-be's or actual) have desires to corrupt the High School to College to NBA progression perhaps the AAU could establish a post High School system (league by any other definition) where these agents/middlemen/family/friends put up all the money their sleezy hearts desire. In this way every High School player destined for the NBA can choose, one year of the Agents League (let capitalism reign free) or three years of college.

My other observations in this has to do with this NCAA rule that places the burden of responsibility on the student athlete for the actions of family, friends, etc. Last I checked I'm not responsible for the PRIVATE actions of my neighbors. It just seems a big stretch to think anyone can control a long lost cousin who MIGHT boast to a bling clad agent that he is TIGHT with the dude. Finally, where is the NBA in all this stuff regarding these agents? I would think it feasible for the NBA to put these people on an unapproved list and if a prospect uses such an agent they turn over some sizable dollars when drafted, or the teams they are drafted by pay a fine.

Woody Cragg 1 year, 7 months ago

“I want the media, KU Fans, and public to know University of Kansas, Head Coach Bill Self, nor any members of the Athletic Department had any knowledge or involvement,” Cobb said in an exact wording of his statement.

Repeating what he said in the USA Today article, Cobb added: “I don’t want to hurt the McLemore family, I want to protect the family. If there had to be a bad guy, if there had to be a fall guy, let it be me, as opposed to ruining a great kid who has busted his butt to get where he is. Let me be the crooked AAU coach. I was willing to take the brunt of it for the sake of this kid. I wanted to keep him pure.”

What this jerk really means is that he's enjoying burying it in KU's backside & he's PO'ed that he's not getting anymore $$$ so he's jamming the family too. Typical ex-con behavior-after all, he's from misery. It's a waste of time trying to do damage control about anything a twerp like this says or does so we may just have to bite the bullet on this one. Hope he's burned all the bridges available & has ZERO chance at coaching at any level ever again.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

So if Self DID know about this before the news broke - what then?

Even then I don't know that it's so egregious that he gets fired, but I could see a suspension of some sort.

Brian Skelly 1 year, 7 months ago

I'll parrot HEM's position as well. We're all reacting in a way that makes the fact that "KU knew nothing" for granted. I dont think we can or should do that. Doesnt mean they didnt.

The irony to me is the fact that to me the one thing the NCAA likely could get on KU about is this "bowling party". That strikes me as something the NCAA would have interest in, and likely will. Because players and their families went out for a social gathering, apparently covered by this World Wide Wes Wannabe. My guess is Self (or someone(s) on the coaching staff at least knew of the party taking place) will be hard pressed to claim that the event didnt occur. Does that make KU responsible for the actions of the agent? No, but in the NCAA's eyes that is likely going to end up a violation, and one they could hit KU with.

The payments with the AAU coach seem entirely out of the realm the NCAA's reach, and likely interest. They'll have interest in it to some degree, but it certainly appears at this point that's beyond the scope of KU. I have an incredibly hard time, despite that it my eyes (and clearly many others) to be the potentially bigger deal. But not necessarily to the NCAA. We'll see.

Kent Kossoy 1 year, 7 months ago

If Kansas does get hit, they should sue this dou$he bag in civil court. Go for the jugular to get him off the streets!! UK successfully sued fedex for their mishandling of $10000 package and won!! And they WERE guilty.

DanR 1 year, 7 months ago

Unless the IRS is involved and Ben has to pay some taxes on his supposed professional compensation, I really don't understand the freakout over any of this.

It's clear as a bell what happened. If the NCAA even bothers to spend five minutes on this, they'll be approving this as the $10K blueprint for every leach, sleazeball and scammer who has an ax to grind with a player or college program.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 7 months ago

Since a huge percentage of college athletes have them, I'm going to speculate and say he got them legally. Or else the NCAA would have field day.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 7 months ago

Since a huge percentage of college athletes have them, I'm going to speculate and say he got them legally. Or else the NCAA would have field day.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 7 months ago

How do all the players on your K-State teams pay for theirs?

Brak 1 year, 7 months ago

From what I've heard per their scholarship they get like 2k a month for food and living expenses and considering their tats are featured all over national TV I'm sure they get them done pretty cheap just for the free advertising. Or possibly he is good friends with a budding tattoo artist and he did all the work for free to build his portfolio.

Hawk8086 1 year, 7 months ago

As MVJ stated. one thing that concerns me is that we should have known who was on the players' ticket list. It doesn't necessarily matter what we knew about....if Ben received benefits he shouldn't have, then he could be deemed ineligible. I would think that if the NCAA believes that we should have been aware of more than we were (i.e. tickets, funding of the birthday party) then they may go harder on us. True, we may end up with little or no penalties, but I think that worrying about it is entirely warranted.

JayHok 1 year, 7 months ago

But as sleazy as Blackstock is he's not an agent. So he plays friendly with whoever he's around and says he's Ben's friend. For all Ben may have known at the time, he was.

KEITHMILES05 1 year, 7 months ago

He was/is on a VERY personal/friendly basis with Bens mother.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Try revisiting the Newton Rule - Infante Article.

kay_you 1 year, 7 months ago

Cobb's statement exonerating all parties is good to hear. So far the birthday party is the most damaging information.

Robert Brock 1 year, 7 months ago

Cobb is completely untrustworthy. I wouldn't pay any attention to rubbish coming out of his mouth.

kay_you 1 year, 7 months ago

I wouldn't say he is completely untrustworthy. He may have had less than honerable intentions but his accusations are the reason we are having this discussion. I've been on enough juries to know that sometimes the truth lies in the sleaziest witness.

BringBackMark 1 year, 7 months ago

“Keep them squares out your circle. You got people that’s around you They gone try they best to down you Keep them squares up out your circle.”

Anyone else feel like maybe the "Student" part of "Student Athlete" is missing? Good luck in the NBA Ben.........

JayHok 1 year, 7 months ago

So at this point the NCAA has on KU the following. McLemore's family paid for a birthday party at a bowling alley. A child who barely had food to eat when he was little. The money apparently came from a family friend, a wanna be agent who is not certified. Anything else? All the other stuff even if the AAU coach really did receive $10,000 from Blackstock has to do with an attempt to steer Ben during his NBA career. It's a wanna be agent trying to make a splash. I don't see how KU is involved in this besides the birthday party, but even then Ben's family member technically paid for it. Can the money trail be found? Is it even certifiably real or is Cobb and Blackstock trying to make negative press for themselves like Calipari used to do in the day to stir up a buzz and keep his name in the lights and keep people talking. Surely the NCAA can understand what Blackstock's intentions were. He wants to be Ben's NBA agent and it looks like Ben wants no part of him!

KEITHMILES05 1 year, 7 months ago

Since this article is about money I found it weird KU was able to quietly announce a 27% increase in ticket prices. Nothing like money grubbers. Who the hell can charge such an increase? Shameful.

tophawk87 1 year, 7 months ago

KU Basketball is getting a bit sloppy. Self needs to hire one tough hombre to oversee compliance. Free tickets to AAU middlemen doesn't pass the sniff test....

Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 7 months ago

And pay the tough $250,000 annually to keep things clean.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Or maybe just an anal-retentive nerd type.

brooksmd 1 year, 7 months ago

Looks to me to be more justification for recruiting and developing 3 or 4 star players and skipping over the 5 star/oad's. Far less headaches and problems. But when HCBS doesn't bring in 5 star/oad's then you start to hear he can't recruit.

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