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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas athletic officials are reviewing allegations that the former AAU basketball coach of Ben McLemore received cash payments aimed at steering the star freshman to a sports agent. AAU coach Darius Cobb told USA Today  he received $10,000 in two payments from Rodney Blackstock, the founder and CEO of Hooplife Academy in Greensboro, N.C.

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger issued a statement Saturday saying that the university had received an inquiry about the relationship between the McLemore family and Blackstock. The information was being reviewed and officials would “process it” with the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference if necessary.

“We are not in a position to comment further at this time,” Zenger said. A spokesman with the university declined further comment on Monday.

A telephone message left with an NCAA spokesman in Indianapolis seeking comment Monday was not returned.

McLemore, a second-team All-American, is expected to be an NBA lottery pick in June after breaking the Jayhawks’ freshman scoring record held by Danny Manning. McLemore averaged nearly 16 points for a team that went 31-6 and won a share of its ninth straight Big 12 championship, and he announced last month that he was leaving Kansas after one season.

In a release issued by Cobb through Coburn Enterprise, LLC in St. Louis, Cobb said Blackstock gave him money to give to the family in an effort to steer McLemore to him as a client. He said in addition to the cash, he also received expenses for hotels and travel to Los Angeles. Cobb says that he tried to act in the best interest of McLemore and his family by using Blackstock as a middleman with agents and financial advisers.

The statement issued Monday by Cobb said Kansas and coach Bill Self “had no knowledge or involvement dealing with this issue.”

According to the USA Today article, Blackstock attended three Kansas basketball games using tickets left in his name by McLemore. In addition, Cobb and Richard Boyd, a cousin of McLemore’s, traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Blackstock and others about the player’s future.

Cobb, 41, said he intended to act as a shield for the McLemore family with agents and “keep him pure.” Cobb said he had known McLemore since the sixth grade in St. Louis and had helped the family by purchasing clothing and food.

3 Responses to Kansas mum on allegation that McLemore’s former AAU coach got payments fro magent

  • LindaS says:

    Of course they are, they are trying to come up with a good story.

  • Kokamo Joe says:

    I have often thought and frequently read about high level basketball recruits who have “people of interest” who are guiding and advising them both before and after they arrive at the college that they are guided to. The Kansas incident does not surprise me. These “people of interest” eventually cash in after the kids leave college early. John Wall comes to mind. His AAU coach was an agent before he latched on to Wall. He stopped being an official agent while his meal ticket played AAU ball for him and while he was at UK, but negotiated a huge and lucrative shoe contract for Wall as soon as he was drafted. I have no doubt that all high level recruits, including our own, have been discovered, groomed, and publicized by “people of interest” and that this guidance will pay off big for both the player and his benefactor after a brief college career.

    Generally, the colleges stay out of this. UK had nothing to do with Wall and his unofficial agent and cannot be blamed, just as Kansas will probably not be blamed for a sports agent paying a AAU coach to push the player his way. I would think that the danger that Kansas might face would be if it came out that the player was paid by the agent before the end of his playing year.

  • Katbluefan says:

    If anyone thinks that the NCAA will do anything to Kansas for this McLemore payment has to have their head in the sand. Then NCAA has their certain programs that get by with cheating and nothing is done and Kansas is one of them along with Duke and North Carolina. The NCAA is a JOKE.

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