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

McLemore speaks about AAU coach, agent allegations


— 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 and “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 “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.”


Adam Collins 5 years, 1 month 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:

Dirk Medema 5 years, 1 month ago

There is some spending $ in a full ride. He skipped a tatoo.

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

Kids get a weekly per diem and they also make decent money working camps in the offseason. Working 1 camp would be enough to pay for a ticket from KC to LA.

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm not in the loop on how these things work so don't take this as anything other than a question..

How much do these kids get paid for working these camps? McLemore would have had to pay for his and his cousin Boyd's tickets (round trip), hotel, food and any other expenses. That's a lot for a kid in college.

David Leathers 5 years, 1 month ago

McLemore's quotes are painful to read. I love the kid and all, but damn, did he even try to learn anything in class?

gchawk 5 years, 1 month ago

My sentiments as well, I just didn't have the nerve to post it as I thought I might be the only person with that very thought. Double negatives do make a positive, but I realize he didn't mean it that way.

Clarence Haynes 5 years, 1 month ago

Yes, you would think that these guys would get more public speaking instruction.

stahlin 5 years, 1 month ago

AAU coaches are the lobbyists of NCAA basketball

Jack Wilson 5 years, 1 month ago

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

Sean O'Daniel 5 years, 1 month ago

Why would he pay a lawyer? The NCAA can't touch him...

Clarence Haynes 5 years, 1 month ago

If he says that he is willing to speak with the NCAA, he should have a lawyer!

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 1 month ago

You can't be serious. Ben and any future agent may not need to worry about the NCAA but the University of Kansas sure does.

Reggie Bush is making money in the NFL but the football program at USC is in shambles compared to where they used to be.

The cheaters come out fine..ask Calipari, but the schools he coached suffer the penalty...ask UMass or Memphis. Calipari even gets to keep the games he won while the schools forfeit theirs.

Jack Wilson 5 years, 1 month ago

Self-Propelled: If Ben doesn't have lawyer, one that he pays hourly for advice; A highly reputable lawyer that doesn't need Ben as client; One that gives him blunt and unbiased advice; then Ben is missing the single most important piece of his professional puzzle.

kD: I don't think he has a competent lawyer, if he even has one. Remember, some folks think getting advise from agents and other advisers eliminates the need for lawyers. They are dead wrong.

It is doubtful that a comptetent lawyer would advise him to even talk about it. Not even to the NCAA. What could possibly be gained by Ben by running his mouth? I mean, certainly, silence is golden for him here. But clients are the boss. If KU's well-being was important to Ben, and thus Ben wanted to talk, a lawyer would/should do it by a press release. In a manner that doesn't harm Ben. A lawyer certainly would consider what is good for KU and Self, if that coincides with what Ben finds important. He's the client. The information we have so far indicates that KU is important to Ben ... from the article: "I hope it don't affect Kansas because there's so much tradition there," he said. "I don't want to be one of those guys that can't be allowed to come back."

Further, no lawyer worth his salt would send Ben out to make the idiotic and nonsensical statements he just made. How does that benefit Ben? That's why I don't think he has a competent lawyer. If a lawyer advised Ben to talk at all, he would prepare a statement that would be provided, as opposed to letting a kid who has trouble giving interviews stumble over his words.

Try this press release: "I have been very troubled by the statements of my former AAU coach. I want to make it very clear: I knew nothing about any payments to Mr. Cobb. I am considering discussing this with the NCAA. I plan to focus on basketball, and the draft. But I won't be making any further comment during this process."

If Ben and his lawyer felt that identifyng the trip needed to be done, this could be included (if it were true): "I did take a trip to Los Angeles with Rodney Blackstock, and that trip was at my cost."

He's getting horrible advice right now.

JayDocMD 5 years, 1 month 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.

JayHawkFanToo 5 years, 1 month 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.

Katie Bieber 5 years, 1 month ago

I've loved that quote for years! Interestingly, it is also attributed to Abe Lincoln (as I learned it) but both likely borrowed and modified it from Proverbs 17:28. Just thought you'd like to know!

Cameron Cederlind 5 years, 1 month ago

"The problem with internet quotes is that you cant always depend on their accuracy" -Abraham Lincoln, 1864.

JayHawkFanToo 5 years, 1 month ago

I am aware of the different version of the quote. As worded in my post, the quote is attributed to Mark Twain. The Lincoln quote, although conveying the same meaning, has different wording.

Benz Junque 5 years, 1 month ago

It is impractical to think that a player is going to START his search for representation after the season ends. There simply isn't enough time. It is standard practice for anyone who is going to even attempt to go professional to meet with perspective agents during their final season to get a feel for who they are. That isn't a decision to rush into.

The only thing that I have a problem with is that the University of Kansas Athletic Department doesn't seem to attempt to do any vetting of just who it is that is on a players list of people to give game tickets to. They should be checking out who these people are and saying no to anyone that may be a problem.

LAJayhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

I totally agree with this. I have no idea what the NCAA rules are regarding school involvement, but that absolutely should be put in place if it's not already. Why wouldn't the schools want to be involved? It would insure no improper benefits are being passed over, thus protecting the school -- the only entity which can face punishment -- from NCAA sanctions. The athletic department could also act as a buffer between agents and athletes, thereby protecting the athlete from being taken advantage of.

Having the schools help in the vetting process makes perfect sense for everyone involved, and it's a service the athletes absolutely deserve, considering the schools and the NCAA make billions off of them in free labor.

BillSelf4Prez 5 years, 1 month 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..

Woody Cragg 5 years, 1 month 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.

Hawk8086 5 years, 1 month ago

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

Dyrk Dugan 5 years, 1 month 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 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 guys want to not listen to me anymore? i got news for'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.

Steve Brown 5 years, 1 month 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.

David Leathers 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't understand how anyone that has ever made more than 5 million at once is EVER broke. You can live off of the interest and dividends that it generates and still let it grow (as long as you diversify and manage as needed).

If I win that 600 million tonight I can guarantee that I will die a billionaire.

David Leathers 5 years, 1 month 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."

Tony Bandle 5 years, 1 month ago

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

JayHok 5 years, 1 month 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.

JayHok 5 years, 1 month ago

All this can happen after the season with the assumption that the kid isn't coming back. That's how all these kids who are currently in college get flown to the NBA tryouts. The NBA team pays. Noel, Cousins, Wall, the list goes on of kids who flew out a week after the season and signed with an agent. As a fanbase the second they're in LA it's not a good feeling because the writing is on the wall. But again the presumption is that the kid at this point, a week after the season is over, isn't eligible anymore anyway as he is entering the draft whether he's declared or not. The biggest thing the NCAA needs to look into is the shouting match between Cobb and Blackstock. Did the money really change hands or is this one guy's attempt to gain leverage over the other? If money actually did change hands can it be proved? If Cobb is the only one claiming it happened that doesn't bode well for Cobb's argument.

Hawk8086 5 years, 1 month ago

I missed some of the information, then. Where was it reported that the travel happened after the season was complete?

Jack Wilson 5 years, 1 month ago

Great point .. there is no statement as to when the travel occurred. The only time reference is where the article says "Friday", but that seems to indicate the timing of Ben's statement.

texashawk10 5 years, 1 month ago

It actually does matter who paid for the trip. Remember when KU was put on probation in the mid 2000's, part of the allegations included outgoing seniors receiving gifts after their seasons were over.

JayHok 5 years, 1 month ago

Interesting. I forgot about that with Roy. I wonder if things have changed a little bit with some of the rules. Nearly half of each Kentucky team the last few years flies out to LA each April before the school year's over. Often signing and wining and dining. Aren't those gifts?

JayHok 5 years, 1 month ago

Funny. True, true. NY I guess. Anyway point remains the same unless top 5 KY players aren't looking to sign too

coachdstl 5 years, 1 month ago

The trip consisted of ben rodney richard and kevin mclemore. They flew from dallas to la ben didnt go back to lawrence with the team, ben didnt announce until april 9th he was going pro which made that an ncaa infraction. he wanted to come back but was informed by taking the trip he had to come out or lose his eligibility, why do you think he was so emotional at his news conference

jaybate 5 years, 1 month ago

Interesting angle.

Proving intent could be very tricky, however.

Ryan Patti 5 years, 1 month ago

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

JayHawkFanToo 5 years, 1 month 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.
With judicious money management and a few less tattoos, it is conceivable that Ben could have paid for his trip to LA himself.

Hawk8086 5 years, 1 month ago

It certainly is conceivable, but the way he at first said, "pretty sure" that he paid for the trip is concerning.

Yonatan Negash 5 years, 1 month ago

Here is a prediction; BMAC will never talk to the NCAA about this. Of course, he needed to be diplomatic and say he would talk them and tell the truth. It's all pre-draft talk, he needed to come out and make a statement. Could he have been more prepared, possibly? The quality of statement may be debatable but it was necessary for Ben Mclemore to speak and deflect any creditability from the AAU coach. If you ask, will either Cobb or Ben speak to the NCAA, I'd say NO. Let's not get excited, nothing will come out of this. Ben will get drafted and move on. The AAU coach will never speak or be heard from again, this is a dead issue.

JayHok 5 years, 1 month ago

Cobb so far is the only one who believes Cobb's story. Blackstock is a scum, that's well known but even he hasn't backed Cobb's story. Through all this, Cobb himself says KU knew nothing about it and also that this was done without Ben's knowledge. At this point it's Cobb's story versus himself.

Jack Wilson 5 years, 1 month 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.

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 1 month ago

Getting Black would be a major scoop.. It allows Embiid AND Lucas to continue to grow as players while adding depth and experience.

I'm betting Black will start at least till conference play. Not sure what happens w/Traylor..maybe minutes at both the 4-5 spot.

White over Greene but both get 10-12 mpg minimum.

No idea on Mason (redshirt?)

Self will need to be at his best to keep this team focused on the the real NCAA banner.
Calipari has to worry about both the NCAA championship AND NBA lottery picks. Two teams with an overabundance of talent. Best class at KU ever (2nd all-time?) vs best all-time class ever.

LAJayhawk 5 years, 1 month ago


I pretty much agree entirely with this analysis. My only slight disagreement might be that I think Embiid won't be a starter until somewhere around Decmeber-ish, or perhaps by conference play. By that point, my instincts tell me he will start to dominate, but before then, it's going to be a little rough going. If we land Black, then that's a guaranteed starter. If not, I would guess Self goes small with Traylor, unless Lucas really did improve as much as Self said during the redshirt year.

Either way, I think Embiid is off the bench until at least December. But I hope I'm wrong, because that would mean he's more advanced than I thought, and we'd be WAY more successful early on.....

Kent Kossoy 5 years, 1 month 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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