Former Kansas guard Ben McLemore is expected to be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
An AAU coach for former Kansas guard Ben McLemore said he received thousands of dollars in cash, lodging, meals and trips from a middle man who courted him on behalf of sports agents and financial advisers during the 2012-13 college basketball season, reports USA Today.
Darius Cobb, an AAU coach from the St. Louis area, said he took two cash payments of $5,000 during the regular season from Rodney Blackstock, the founder and CEO of Hooplife Academy, which is mentoring organization based in North Carolina.
Cobb also said he received three trips to Los Angeles for meetings with sports agent and advisors who were hoping McLemore would sign with their agency. He says McLemore's cousin Richard Boyd went on two of those trips.
McLemore left school after his redshirt freshman season after averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks. He declared for the NBA draft April 9.
Cobb provided travel itineraries and photos taken of he and Boyd on the trips, however, Boyd denied making the trips with Cobb.
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"No, I did not (go to Los Angeles)," Boyd told USA TODAY Sports. "I don't know anything about that. The rumors, that's why I don't want to do interviews because people misinterpret stuff. … There is too much confusion. Everyone is trying to control this and that."
A person who became close to Blackstock to help him build relationships with players and their families confirmed knowledge of Blackstock's payments to Cobb. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity so he would not harm his relationships with those involved.
Blackstock did not return multiple text and voice messages left on his cell phone seeking comment.
Although Boyd denied being on the trips, he acknowledged Blackstock had built a close relationship with the family and defended him, saying Blackstock's involvement has helped because he knows the agent industry and can navigate a landscape strewn with individuals who don't always have the player's best interests at heart.