Ben McLemore's AAU Coach Claims He Took Cash to Steer Kansas Star
Ben McLemore's former AAU coach, Darius Cobb, reportedly said he accepted money from a man who was courting the Kansas star for sports agents and financial advisers, according to Eric Prisbell of USA Today.
Cobb said that he accepted two payments of $5,000 from Rodney Blackstock, the founder and CEO of Hooplife Academy, in exchange for steering McLemore in his direction. He also reportedly accepted free meals and trips.
UPDATE: Monday, May 7, at 11:57 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
Darius Cobb released a statement today on the Ben McLemore situation. KUSports.com's Gary Bedore has the latest:
'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.'
---End of update---
Cobb added that he personally met with the agents and advisors in Los Angeles hoping to represent the projected top pick once he declared for the NBA.
According to Prisbell's report, Cobb made it clear that McLemore knew "little to none" about Blackstock's involvement, or the fact that his former coach received money from him.
On the other hand, documents obtained by USA Today showed that Blackstock "received complimentary admission" to three Kansas home games, with McLemore making the request.
Will this incident hurt McLemore's draft stock?
Cobb said he has come forward because he wants it to be a lesson for individuals who go after these athletes. He also said that he wanted to make families of these athletes more aware of the dangers they face when seeking out professional representation.
McLemore averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals in his freshman season at Kansas, while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the arc. He declared for the NBA draft on April 9.
If Cobb is being completely truthful, this will go down as yet another black mark for collegiate athletics.
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