Ben McLemore did an extended interview with Sports Illustrated about the situation regarding his former AAU coach Darius Cobb accepting $10,000 in cash from Rodney Blackstock as payment to lure McLemore towards Blackstock as an agent.
Here is some of what McLemore had to say:
“My reaction was like, ‘Wow,’ ” [McLemore] said. “That was someone that I could trust, and I put a person in my circle that I felt comfortable with and I know a long time that I wanted to help me through this process [of selecting an agent]. And for him to say the things he did and put that out there like that, I wish it wasn’t true … [Cobb] put me in jeopardy and my family in jeopardy.”
McLemore said that he has not spoken with Cobb since the article was published — “I’ve pushed him out of my circle,” he said — and that the story was the first he had heard about payments from Blackstock to Cobb. “I didn’t see no money going around. My mom hasn’t seen no money going around. We don’t know nothing about it,” he said. “So it was kind of new to me.”
“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.”
It would appear that Kansas would be in the clear with McLemore given that there is no evidence that Kansas knew about the situation with Cobb or that McLemore received cash from Cobb or Blackstock. With that said, thats a lot of money flowing around McLemore and it would be tough to think he didn’t benefit from that in some way. How the NCAA approaches the situation will be interesting to follow, especially after they way the botched the Miami and Penn State scandals.
The situation also points to is how crowded and corrupted the system is and that while the NCAA is trying to “protect the student athlete and academic institutions” they are in fact doing the opposite. No university can control what Cobb and Blackstock did, and really neither could McLemore. Asking an 18 year old kid to watch over and control adult men who are rarely, if ever, around would be met with disaster. McLemore is doing all he can do at this point by eliminating Cobb from his circle.
The question now is if the NCAA will see it that way.
If Kansas gave money to McLemore or if McLemore accepted money from an agent knowingly, things would be different. But that does not appear to be the case here, at least to this point. If the NCAA decides Kansas is at fault for what Cobb and Blackstock did, then virtually all major Division I universities are about to be hit with a penalty of some sort. Universities can barely keep tabs on boosters, so to think they could reasonably police individuals who are never on campus would seem ridiculous.
We’ll see how this develops as the NCAA’s investigation continues.