Former KU guard Ben McLemore spoke Thursday at the NBA Combine in Chicago about AAU coach Darius Cobb’s revelation that he accepted $10,000 in cash payments to steer McLemore toward Rodney Blackstock, a middleman with connections to agents and financial advisers in Los Angeles.
McLemore gave an interview to Sports Illustrated and Campusinsiders.com in which he said he would be willing to meet with NCAA investigators even though he is no longer a player for the Jayhawks.
“I would tell them the truth and tell them what I know, and just cooperate with them,” McLemore told reporters from SI and Campusinsiders. “Hopefully they’ll cooperate with me and hear my side.”
McLemore also said he had not heard of the payments to Cobb until he read a May 3 article in USA Today in which Cobb first revealed he received money a middleman. In addition to the $10,000, Cobb received three paid trips to Los Angeles, and he alleged that a cousin of McLemore’s, Richard Boyd, traveled with him to meet agents and financial advisers on two of those trips.
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The cash and trips would be in violation of an NCAA rule that prohibits athletes (and their relatives and friends) from accepting benefits and transportation from anyone working as an agent.
McLemore said he has not spoken to Cobb since the USA Today story was published and has “pushed him out of my circle.”
“My reaction was like, ‘Wow,’” he 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.
“I hope it don’t affect Kansas because there’s so much tradition there,” McLemore added. “I don’t want to be one of those guys that can’t be allowed to come back.”