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Originally published May 17, 2013 at 07:43p.m., updated May 17, 2013 at 10:40p.m.

McLemore speaks about AAU coach, agent allegations

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— Former Kansas University basketball guard Ben McLemore, on Friday from the NBA combine, told Sports Illustrated that he would be willing to speak with NCAA officials about alleged payments made from middleman Rodney Blackstock to his former AAU coach, Darius Cobb.

“I would tell them the truth and tell them what I know, and just cooperate with them,” McLemore told SI.com and campusinsiders.com. “Hopefully they’ll cooperate with me and hear my side.”

McLemore’s AAU coach, Darius Cobb, said in a USA Today article he accepted $10,000 in cash from Blackstock, who had designs on becoming McLemore’s agent. Cobb also said Blackstock paid travel expenses to Cobb and McLemore’s cousin, Richard Boyd, on trips to Los Angeles to meet with prospective agents.

McLemore told USA Today on Friday that he did indeed know and have a “bond” with Blackstock, but that he never accepted money or gifts from the middleman, even when the pair traveled together on the Los Angeles trip.

“You know at the time I needed to meet with people, my mom wanted me to meet with people, and that’s what happened,” McLemore told USA Today. “I am pretty sure I paid for the trip. I paid for the trip. So it came out of my pockets and you know, the whole thing, I think, you know, like I said, the whole Darius Cobb, the AAU coach, it’s just basically a personal attack on Rodney, so I will leave it at that.”

McLemore also explained to Hoopsworld’s Derek Page that Blackstock was his guest at KU games in February and March because “... it was a friend, I just wanted him to see me play, see, you know, the atmosphere there at Kansas, and just go to a game.”

An NCAA spokesperson told SI.com: “We are absolutely interested in talking to people to gather as many facts as possible, especially from those who no longer are a part of the NCAA but want to get to the truth.”

Comments

Kent Kossoy 11 months, 1 week ago

I'm sure that if the NCAA has questions for Mr. McLemore, all they need to find him would be to look in the classroom. Yeah, right! Is it me or anyone else tired of these one and done'rs?? I like the looks of this kid, Wiggins, but has any one and done'rs made a difference at KU?? Maybe a few more wins in the year. But no additional championships. I can only think of two players, Carmillo of Syracuse and UK's Anthony Davis to bring the championship home. Interestingly, both over KU.

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Jack Wilson 11 months, 1 week ago

Is it this easy to determine our 8 man rotation now?

1] Tharpe

2] Selden

3] Wiggins

4] Ellis

5] Embiid


6] White or Greene (best player)

7] Frankamp or Mason (best ball handler)

8] Lucas or Traylor or Black* (best player)

A few things to think about:

-Best ball handler would mean dribbler, passer ... taking care of the ball when Tharpe isn't in. X factor in this analysis is whether Selden is skilled enough to be the back up ball handler. I doubt that he is. Best Bet: Frankamp.

-For White/Greene, if Greene is a good ball handler, that could help him in that battle. Best Bet: White.

-If we get Black, it's because Self has probably assured him he's in the rotation. So that will be answered immediately if he signs. He has one year left and will certainly go somewhere he is guaranteed to play, if not start. If not, while we can hope for Lucas, Traylor has lots of experience from last season. Best Bet: Traylor.

-Whether Wiggins or Selden is the 2 or 3, it matters little.

-The key to me seems to be Embiid's readiness. If Embiid isn't ready to play 25 per game, then we will be operating with a very key area exposed. If we sign Black, he and Ellis could start while Embiid gets ready in the first half of the season. Regardless, the guy next to Ellis may be what defines our season.

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Konkis Dongington III 11 months, 1 week ago

Well I think the revelation that BMac is still tight with Blackstock removes the veil about the sequence of events. When Blackstock moved in, Cobb and BMac's cousin moved out, so now they're trying to sabotage Ben with Kansas caught in the middle. This is a real doo doo sandwich.

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 1 week ago

To all of you that think that athletes have no money while attending school, please read the enclosed article; I believe it will be an eye opener. Although it addresses football, it applies to basketball as well.
http://www.holyturf.com/2011/05/football-players-receive-17000-annually-in-cash-all-within-ncaa-rules/
With judicious money management and a few less tattoos, it is conceivable that Ben could have paid for his trip to LA himself.

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Ryan Patti 11 months, 1 week ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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JayHok 11 months, 1 week ago

The travel happened a week after KU lost to Michigan. Many draft entries do this. Think of how early some of the past players have signed with agents. They become ineligible when they sign and often the writing is on the wall before that they won't be back for the following year. Like so many more McLemore is discussing something that happened after the tournament. Anything that happened before its Cobb's word versus Blackstock's word and there needs to be a money trail. More importantly Cobb has already said KU had no idea of any of this and it appears McLemore himself legitimately had no idea until after the season was over, and that is saying, if it even happened at all. It's Cobb's word that is being questioned. Tyler Zeller and many others are being flown by agents right now and it's no big deal. The season is over.

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Tony Bandle 11 months, 1 week ago

No way will the NCAA restrict KU from post season next year...Andrew is too big a TV draw!!

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David Leathers 11 months, 1 week ago

Can you imagine the phone call from Bill Self right after he heard this news?

Self: "Ben, WTF are you doing?"

Ben: "They keep axin' me about it coach.."

Self: "Damn it! I kept telling you that you are too damn nice! You even showed it on the court with your inability to take over when I wanted you to. You need to keep your mouth SHUT!"

Ben: "So it's like that, coach?"

Self: "No Ben, I'm sorry. I'm just really frustrated right now. Can you please keep your mouth shut from now on? They can't touch us if you do."

Ben: "Aight, coach. My bad homie. I got yo' back."

Self: " Good lookin' out. You'll still be my favorite player then... at least until Wiggs gets us that 'ship next year."

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Steve Brown 11 months, 1 week ago

Lawyer up, great idea.

Ban the runners, agents that stretched the rules from campus contact. Provide list of the 'good' ones if there are any. How about an agent presentation day to the kids after the season, with no coffee breaks?

It's a tough police job, when they go from zero money to millions, pressure to blow is intense.Worms and termites will find the cracks in the concrete. It has to be hard on the families with well meaning relatives trying to get a cut for their life long support. Like Bernie Kosar's dad. "get me a beer kid"

If true that most lottery winners are broke a few years later, how then do we expect these kids that hit the jackpot to control resources and contacts any better. Perhaps it is time to pay them $200. a month on top of the table.

Here's the sticky question, if BMac signed a code of conduct letter when recruited and he or his family broke the rules with knowledge from anyone in AD, that results in NCAA damages, do we have right to file for negligence? If Memphis filed court case against Cal and SAT D. Rose would it help or damage their recruiting, don't jump to conclusions.

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Dyrk Dugan 11 months, 1 week ago

this is like a bad dream.....the same stuff that scares you, keep happening again, and again, and again.....

yes, to all the above about being quiet. Quit talking. why is Ben talking to the press? you have nothing good to say...you can only make it worse. now we learn, that HE himself went on a trip with Blackstock.....this had to be before he declared for the draft. So no matter what, this puts the eligibility in jeopardy, even though you paid for the trip yourself....(or pretty sure). :)

obviously Cobb didn't know about that, or else he would have blabbed too. So Cobb has been shut out, and this is payback. "I'll show you Ben McLemore and family....you guys want to not listen to me anymore? i got news for ya....you'll have to listen now, because i'm squealin."

since everyone seems to be so willing to, unsolicited i might add, talk to the press, then why wouldn't they talk to the NCAA?

i've predicted it before, and i'll predict it again: there will be nothing of this, or it will be the very, very bad. that's how it will turn out. and very, very bad means, he's ineligible, no Big 12 title, and our NCAA tourney record will be vacated. and that's bad folks....very, very bad.

that's why all of this protect KU talk is nonsense....Kansas is the ONLY one hurt in this...the only one. Ben McLemore is not hurt one iota.

i've made this point before too.....all of these meetings that HAD to happen, did not have to happen. this is the dirty little secret, that these players and families need to get through their heads. stop this stuff, until the season is OVER. there is plenty of time before the draft.

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Hawk8086 11 months, 1 week ago

"I am pretty sure I paid for the trip. I paid for the trip." Pretty sure? Oh man, that doesn't sound good.

1

Woody Cragg 11 months, 1 week ago

How can this kid even speak? Surely he's been counseled to stay quiet? Any comments at all can be construed as fuel against him or the University. Realistically, a potential smackdown of KU by the NCAA could have drastically harmful results for a great recruiting class-even transfers by kids we just hate to lose. Zip it BMac, PLEASE? If he doesn't have a lawyer yet, he better retain one fast.

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BillSelf4Prez 11 months, 1 week ago

I'm sorry but how could McLemore's mom not get a job? I'm pretty sure somebody in Lawrence was more than willing to..

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Jay Dogger 11 months, 1 week ago

Why did Ben "need to meet with people"? Would it somehow effect his draft stock? Would agents only agree to represent him if he met with them before his college career was over? Did these people have insight regarding whether or not he should go pro that others did not?

I also think Ben's family couldn't wait six months for the gravy train to arrive.

All these people knew what benefits are permissible and which ones are not. One of the problems is that almost anyone can give or take money without it hurting them because the NCAA is the enforcer and the NCAA can only punish the school, not agents, family members or former players. See Reggie Bush and USC (though this is not nearly as egregious).

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 1 week ago

Mark Twain famously said: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
In this case the advise to Ben would be: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you receive improper benefits than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Hard to believe his new agent did not prepare him better; his only words on this issue should be "nocomment," and in a couple of month this issue is gone; now it has a new life. Unbelievable.

2

JayDocMD 11 months, 1 week ago

Ben. For the love of Man, quit talking. Just don't say another word. Shut it. The more you talk the worse this keeps sounding. Above all else, DO NOT talk to the NCAA. Learn from the Duke jewelry case. They've got nothing unless you and your idiot AAU coach keep blabbing. Silence is golden.

Zip it.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=32C0eKRQVt8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D32C0eKRQVt8

5

Jack Wilson 11 months, 1 week ago

Very importantly, Ben, meet with a lawyer. Listen to him. Please.

2

IrishCharlie 11 months, 1 week ago

“I didn’t see no money going around. My mom hasn’t seen no money going around. We don’t know nothing about it,” McLemore told SI.com. “So it was kind of new to me.

HUH ??????

sounds like BS to me. No payments to momma, really? No clothes for you, really?

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stahlin 11 months, 1 week ago

AAU coaches are the lobbyists of NCAA basketball

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Adam Collins 11 months, 1 week ago

McLemore also just came out talking about his relationship with Blackstock. He isn't making the situation sound very good per a USA Today article:

"McLemore also said Friday he and Blackstock traveled to Los Angeles for meetings with individuals who could help McLemore as he pursued a professional career. McLemore said he paid for the trip himself.

McLemore said the purpose of the trip was to "just go meet with people."

"You know at the time I needed to meet with people, my mom wanted me to meet with people, and that's what happened," he said. "I am pretty sure I paid for the trip. I paid for the trip. So it came out of my pockets and you know, the whole thing, I think, you know, like I said, the whole Darius Cobb, the AAU coach, it's just basically a personal attack on Rodney, so I will leave it at that."

Not sure how a guy whose family is known to be in poverty pays for the trips himself...Here is a link to the full article on USA Today:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2013/05/17/ben-mclemore-confirms-bond-with-rodney-blackstock/2216411/

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