Sunday, March 4, 2018

Report: Former KU basketball player Billy Preston no longer playing overseas

Kansas freshman forward Billy Preston throws down a one-handed dunk in an exhibition game against Pittsburg State on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas freshman forward Billy Preston throws down a one-handed dunk in an exhibition game against Pittsburg State on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.


Six weeks after leaving the University of Kansas basketball program in an attempt to jumpstart his professional career, Billy Preston’s stint overseas already is through.

According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, Preston left Bosnia after playing in only three Adriatic League games for Igokea.

Per Givony’s report, Preston, a 6-foot-10 forward who never played in a regular-season game for KU while the school looked into his eligibility, decided to leave Bosnia due to a shoulder injury.

Preston’s mother, Nicole Player, told ESPN he is not likely to return to the foreign team.

“If not, he will just continue to work out and prepare for the draft process,” Player said. “They only have two more games left in ABA league and four in the Bosnian League. I don’t see the point (in returning), but who knows.”

His Bosnian team, Igokea, released a statement on its website announcing Preston’s injury and decision to return to the U.S. for treatment.

According to Givony, Preston played all of 47 minutes in three appearances for the team. The former McDonald’s All-American scored 21 points on 21 field goal attempts and totaled 12 rebounds in his brief time playing for Igokea.

Preston decided to leave Kansas in late January, after an ongoing investigation into a car he drove went unresolved.

A 20-year-old prospect from Houston, who starred at Oak Hill Academy before enrolling at Kansas, Preston is currently ranked 77th in ESPN’s top 100 draft rankings for 2018. The two-round rookie draft in June includes just 60 picks.

Givony described Preston’s options at this point as “limited,” because he can not join the NBA’s G League “and will likely have to hope for an invite to the NBA combine in May to try and resurrect his draft stock.”


Spencer Goff 1 year ago

Am I alone in feeling like nothing good came out of any of this?

Larry Knzas 1 year ago

Injuries are tough, very sorry this happened. I wish him a full recovery and good health in preparing for the NBA Draft. (Jayhawk for life)

Andy Godwin 1 year ago

What a shame. A top 10 talent out of high school and a kid with a great personality and a chance to contribute at KU. I had predicted he would be a KU fan favorite based on his outgoing and fun loving personality. Hope something good for Billy Preston and his mother ultimately comes out of the adversity.

Jonathan Allison 1 year ago

draft invite or not, I can't imagine a team in the league that wouldn't be interested in bringing him in for a workout and taking a look at the kid. He should be just fine.

Hopefully he was able to get his car fixed.

RJ King 1 year ago

More likely he hopes to never set eyes on the damn car again.

Allan Olson 1 year ago

I seem to recall from watching those 4 games in Italy, that Billy only played in 2 of them. Was sick and/or injured. And, I don't remember that he was productive in the 2 he played. I would imagine his combined stats for these 5 [2/Italy + 3/Balkans} games do not have the pros trembling with anticipation. Hard to imagine the NBA teams wasting a guaranteed 1st round contract with this resume. Billy just can't seem to get out of his own way. If he had just rode the bus while in Lawrence AND, played to his potential with the highly visible KU BIG 12 champions, his draft prospects would most likely result in a guaranteed multi $ million contract. I don't feel sorry for him in the least.

Tom Horner 1 year ago

Has the incident been resolved? If so, what is the result? If not, why not?

Shannon Gustafson 1 year ago

It was "resolved" the moment he left KU and signed with a pro team as that's when he was no longer under the NCAA's "control". So when he left, that case was closed and no further resolution was needed.

Tony Bandle 1 year ago

WOW!! From the mountain top to the valley.

Come on, Allan...I know he is responsible for what's transpired but he's just a kid who may have been a victim of his own family as well as his own bad judgement.

Let's hope he gets a chance at least to show his potential and then let the chips fall where they may lay.

Allan Olson 1 year ago

Tony, you c'mon! Billy did absolutely nothing to be called a Jayhawk. Except, of course. for his departing "I'll always be a Jayhawk" self serving posting. His problem, like Cliff's, is an over bearing mom who has thought so much about the NBA millions. Then while he's still on the team, she works with some lawyer to get him a paycheck. After that Balkans fiasco played out, Billy's without a paycheck and headed to the bus ride league for another adventure. As somebody here said, his best option was to return next season, play hard on a great team, and maybe be a lottery pick. Now his only option is to pay his dues from the ground up.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year ago

You don't know any of this, you're projecting you're own assumptions into the situation. Stop acting like it's anything other than you're own best guess.

He did to something to be called a Jayhawk, namely he selected KU as the school to go to, spent nearly a year practicing with the team, travelying/playing overseas with the team, and then spent months on the practice squad helping KU become a better team.

Allan Olson 1 year ago

Shannon, I base my opinions on common sense, and our past history with primo donna players jumping ship after taking up a valuable scholarship. Even a simple 19 year old basketball wunderkind knows not to take a car from anyone other that parents. He created many problems and used many KU resources for just practicing. That's also what our walk-ons do as well. They are, however, paying a ton of money for tuition, room board, books, etc. Billy took a free ride...which if we weren't so lucky to be his choice, he could have spent Duke's money instead.

Mike Hart 1 year ago

Yeah, he did something to be called a Jayhawk. He accepted a free ride scholarship, received impermissible benefits from someone via the vehicle, and then chose to drop all of his classes... and quit on his team because he was tired of waiting out the process... on a year that the KU team is starving for size. Keep in mind, Billy or someone in his family is responsible for putting Billy in the "no play" situation he was in. He may have a great personality, but when you accept a scholarship and a free ride.. .and then don't see it through for the full season, then that is a selfish decision. Perhaps he could have been reinstated and helped the team down the stretch... but we will never know thanks to him and his mom. I'll admit it ... I'm spiteful about it.. .but more so because of how everyone is lauding him and his character instead of rightly pointing out the need to take responsibility for your actions.

Allan Olson 1 year ago

Mike, thanks for a much more thought out and on the nose response to Shannon. Its not about saying you will always be a Jayhawk, its about proving it when the chips are down. Danny Manning stayed 4 years and still earned millions. Billy barely made 4 months of the season. He's not a OAD just a .3 and done.

Bryce Landon 1 year ago

Um, he did help us defeat Missouri in that exhibition game in KC, so that's something.

Armen Kurdian 1 year ago

$50 says that KU is past BP, and doesn't care anymore, out of their hands. It's an unfortunate situation again, another Cliff Alexander type scenario, I hope things work out for him...I believe he'll get invited to the combine...but his shoulder has got to heal and he's got to show he can play through it.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year ago

Of course KU is done with him and it's out of their hands, he's now a professional athlete and is ineligible to play for KU regardless of anything else.

Robert Brock 1 year ago

I would feel a lot better if Preston stayed overseas - like, east of the Urals.

Jesse Johnson 1 year ago

Is anyone else pissed off that DeAndre Ayton and Miles Bridges were both cleared almost immediately by the NCAA, despite the evidence that they received huge payouts from agents?

“While it is not unusual for reinstatement cases to be handled within a day, Michigan State appreciates the NCAA taking swift action,” said Matt Larson, MSU’s associate athletic director for communications.

Brian Wilson 1 year ago

Which.....goes to show that something about BP didn't smell right.

On the surface it kind of looks like Mama clustered things up......did some post HS "dealin" for the caught.....thought they were OAD...."new messiah" didn't go to class....a second year was not a choice.......thought a year of big $ in the UK would help pay the bills and prep for the big show.....and then BAM!!!!!!

There should be a Man-datory movie about this stuff that all recruits along with Proud Mama and Papa should have to watch during high school...else they turn Riches into Rags! No player should ever plan on OAD....ever......because BAM!!!!! is just waiting to happen.

Brian Skelly 1 year ago

Cliff Alexander part two.

He'll be lucky to be riding pine in the G-League.

David Robinett 1 year ago

...or he could have stuck it out, played for KU next year, and been drafted. The need for Immediate gratification can kill careers.

RJ King 1 year ago

careers ... marriages ... lives.

Bryce Landon 1 year ago

I have a sneaking suspicion that someday we'll have a 30 For 30 about Preston, "The Best That Never Was" Jayhawk edition. Billy Preston is to Kansas basketball what Marcus Dupree was to Oklahoma football - only without the injuries.

Titus Canby 1 year ago

Interesting that you mention Marcus Dupree - probably the best running I've ever seen. I saw him on breakaway 65 yard touchdown once, slow down to stiff-arm the defender, then run into the end zone.

Matthew Coleman 1 year ago

David, I think you've hit on the central point here. BP would have been better off sticking it out at KU, giving up on his dream of being an OAD, resolving any improper benefits he may have received and playing next year at KU - as difficult as that process might have been for himself and his mother.

Somehow in all the foolish talk about eradicating our amateur sports model and paying players, we have so disparaged the NCAA that OAD prospects, like Preston, fail to see the significant value they stand to receive by actually excelling within the NCAA system.

Lawrence McGlinn 1 year ago

When the coach is making over $4M I don't think paying players is a foolish idea. A stipend and $$ when they show up on a video game or their jersey in the bookstore would be reasonable.

Drew Doerfler 1 year ago

if you look at the stats, there are only a handful of college athletic departments making a profit after all of the sports are considered.....most can't afford to pay the stipend...if you pay a stipend to the basketball player, you have to pay the same to the tennis player. no one is making these kids come and play in college. it is their choice...they come to get a free education (which i would have been ecstatic about) and as a means to an showcasing their skills to get drafted by an nba team. if you start paying players, then the biggest colleges will walk all over everyone else and the magic of college sports disappears....i wouldn't be all that interested in ku sports at all if i knew they were all being paid to play for their alma mater...if they want paid, go play in europe or internationally

Lawrence McGlinn 1 year ago

Have you noticed the top 10 in college b-ball and football? There are about 5 programs in each sport that walk all over the others already. KU happens to be one of the ones doing the walking, so it feels OK to us. My son actually goes to a MAC school where sports are subsidized by ridiculous student fees. They should not be trying to do big-time sports and paying their coaches hundreds of thousands. Stipends & scholarships for revenue positive sports and scholarships only for others. Power 5 schools should be in their own league. B-ball, football (at KU?) and whatever else makes money get basic stipends.

Mike Hart 1 year ago

That would absolutely destroy what's still valued in college athletics... not to mention destroy parity across the NCAA. Like a kid would ever choose Fordham, Rutgers are any of the non-descript universities over going to UK, KU, UCLA... when the $$ from video game / jersey stipends are going to be so much more at a powerhouse university versus the also-ran universities. The "rich" talent schools will just get richer.. .and many would become disgusted with college athletics. It already has lost some luster vs 15 years ago, for example.

Kent Kossoy 1 year ago

How difficult would it have been to suck it up and take his lumps and play next year? A free apartment, and food?? Oh but he would have to leave his car home. I am so tired of hearing that they are just kids. I worked thru school. He had opportunities most of us never get. I don't wish him ill. But he picked his apple, a crabapple!!

Mike Johns 1 year ago

Get that BIG BALLER League started quick!

David Howell 1 year ago

Billy who ?? I am over him ..... Done .......... only to be mentioned as an example in posts in future years.

Matthew Coleman 1 year ago

I do think some kind of semi-pro league might help everyone see what the G-league already shows - that any showcase for developing players will pay them much less than everyone fantasizes.

No doubt, LaVar or someone similar will lead us in a circle - launching out in great fanfare and self-righteous rebellion and then leading us back to the NCAA's solid overall value for both players and fans.

The issue about paying players only arises when kids and their parents break the NCAA's rules of amateurism. Their rules may not be perfect, but they are far better than anything LaVar can offer.

Joe Baker 1 year ago

According to Givony, Preston played all of 47 minutes in three appearances for the team. The former McDonald’s All-American scored 21 points on 21 field goal attempts and totaled 12 rebounds

We really could've used these stats during the regular season, and going into the tourney.

What a wasted talent.

RJ King 1 year ago

Yes, but the number are not necessarily that meaningful. Remember, Svi played point guard during his summer Euro stint. Can't necessarily make a case for him playing the point throughout an ncaa season.

Billy's extremely small sample size needs to be viewed in the context of who were his teammates, and who was the competition. But yeah, KU would've no doubt been stronger with him than without.

Tom Ballew 1 year ago

Understanding that this is pure speculation, it seems to me that BP got f*cked by the authoritarians at the NCAA.

Mike Hart 1 year ago

Yeah yeah yeah.. .none of this is Billy Preston's fault... it's an NCAA screw-job... give me a break. Take some accountability, Preston family.

Joe Ross 1 year ago

To all kids who have a potential future in the NBA:

We don't know whether or not Billy Preston was provided with improper benefits. But the optics of his situation are good enough reason to make every attempt to keep your noses clean, because if there is even the appearance of impropriety, NCAA investigations can take a long time to sort out. Maybe Preston was entirely innocent. Maybe he accepted gifts. We don't know. In either case, his situation should be enough to motivate you to steer clear of ANYONE (family, agents, coaches, whomever) offering you gifts or benefits! Preston can now not return to college because he's played professionally. He is cutting ties with his pro-team. He can not even now enter the G-league. Nevertheless, he should be given the benefit of the doubt by fans everywhere.

But don't let this happen to YOU.


A Concerned Jayhawk

Brad Watson 1 year ago

Young Preston wasn't ready for the shock of being and living over there...different world entirely from here......that's an adjustment for anybody.......he just needs to put in his time in the weight a lot and play an abundance of pickup games with quality ball players..... and get ready for the league that way... he will be fine.......Good luck to him!..

Barry Weiss 1 year ago

whoever provided the car and Billy and all future recruits should learn a valuable lesson from this. It probably jacked up Billy's career, certainly made it a lot worse. Was that damn car worth losing a career at KU, maybe averaging 15 points a game and being a top 20 draft pick? Just stupid all the way around. No one won a damn thing over a stupid 20K car. Such a waste.

Allin Herring 1 year ago

BP is a perfect lesson for all future OAD'S on what not to do once you sign to play for a team in the NCAA. Go to class and do not cheat and take illegal benefits. I am tired hearing about the BP story. He made his bed mow let's move on.

Titus Canby 1 year ago

The fault here lies with the NBA, not with Billy Preston. If I want to make a living working construction coming out of high school, I can. If I want to make a living playing basketball, I either need to go to college (even if I don't want to), or leave the country.

The issue isn't necessarily the car. The issue is the BS rule that the professional league imposes on their future stars. Here's potentially one of the best players in the country, and to earn a living, he has to go to Bosnia. Bosnia!

Jonathan Allison 1 year ago

While I think that the NBAs age limit rule is bad for college basketball and not the best way to solve the problem of HS players going to the NBA before they're ready. I firmly believe that the NBA has every right to have this rule and to keep this rule as long as they want to. In fact, it really has been good for NBA owners and front offices.

In college basketball we tend to see the OAD rule as the problem, but the real problem isn't the OAD rule. The real problem is twofold, first: college freshman who (understandably) have no interest in academics, and second: basketball's black market that exists because of NCAA amateurism rules and because of a lack of decent alternatives for young players who are not eligible for the NBA draft.

Changing the NBAs OAD rule is one approach that could help the problem. Other approaches could involve improving the G League option or even creating a league of semi-pro "basketball academies" that could serve as accredited academic institutions that could rival the amateur route of HS/AAU and college basketball.

That could be similar to the situation in Europe where players can be affiliated with pro franchises in either a professional or amateur manner if they choose. Similar to how Svi played with the Cherkasy Mavpy professional organization as an amateur player.

Titus Canby 1 year ago

Of course it benefits the NBA. But to the detriment of everyone else.

I agree that improving the G League would be an ideal option. Let's just quit forcing these kids to go to college when they have absolutely no interest in being students. It's a sham (and a shame).

As far as the black market, the unsavory agents, runners, etc., take advantage of these kids and their families and cause the problems, but are never penalized. Meanwhile, the kids and universities pay for the sins of the slime balls.

Again, all this would be alleviated if there was a decent NBA or minor league option in the U. S.

Lawrence McGlinn 1 year ago

The indignant responses on this board are pretty funny. "I had to work through school!" Yeah, we weren't top 20 basketball prospects. Who knows what stupid things we would have done if we had that kind of opportunity at 18 years old, surrounded by sleazy opportunists. C'mon, men! You may be over BP, but we're all excited about next year's class. Which high recruit from next year's class (or parents?) is going to make a bad decision?

Gary Wilson 1 year ago

It seems to me that HCBS needs to be vetting parents as well as the players he recruits.

Dee Shaw 1 year ago

What a joke. DRAMA. I thought his injury was a hang nail.

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