My favorite part of Eric Prisbell’s article from USA Today was a quote from former Houston head coach Tom Penders:
In six seasons as head coach at Houston, Penders estimated, an AAU coach or his agent asked Penders for money in return for the commitment of a prospect at least 25 times. On one occasion, an AAU coach and his agent visited Penders’ office with two offers: Pay tens of thousands of dollars in return for a player’s commitment, or place an AAU coach on his staff to establish a pipeline.
“I threw him out of my office,” Penders said.
Penders said the player, whom the coach declined to identify, spent one season at a Big 12 school before being drafted in the second round of the NBA draft. Penders said the AAU coach collected “six figures” from the Big 12 school that chose to engage in the scheme.
Penders was at Houston from 2004-2010.
In those six years, there were only three players that went to a Big 12 school, left after their freshman season and eventually got picked in the second round of the NBA Draft: Texas A&M’s DeAndre Jordan, Oklahoma’s Tiny Gallon and Kansas State’s Bill Walker.
Jordan is a Houston native. Gallon admitted to taking $3,000 from a financial advisor in Florida. Walker was OJ Mayo’s high school teammate. Anyone want to take a guess at who it was?
(Doing this research, I have to point out here that Jordan signed with Billy Gillispie at A&M. That’s the same Billy Gillispie whose Kentucky recruits wound up playing at Appalachian State, Sam Houston State, Asbury (NAIA), New Mexico State, Florida International, WKU and Sonoma State (D-II). Wow.)
Photo credit: Houston Chronicle