The big news on Wednesday night was that the NCAA was investigating Texas point guard Myck Kabongo for the possible receipt of impermissible benefits.
But while the focus of the NCAA was reported to be the relationship between Kabongo and sports agent Rich Paul, Kabongo’s long-time friend and former teammate Tristan Thompson says that it was he who paid for Kabongo’s expenses while in Akron over the summer.
Thompson, who currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and is represented by Paul, was a teammate of Kabongo’s at St. Benedict’s Prep and both hail from Toronto.
In an interview with Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer Thompson said that he paid for Kabongo’s expenses, and Kabongo’s brother later reimbursed him.
“Did I pay for him? Well, yes and no,” Thompson said. “You know, I actually had to pay for it and then had his brother reimburse me, which is totally fine with the NCAA, we discussed that. Again, we want to respect the process. I think everything’s going to work out. I don’t see no eligibility issues, but that’s for the NCAA to work out.”
“I told the truth to them,” he said. “They also know me and Myck’s relationship. If you go back in history, me and him went to high school together. We’ve been through a lot. They’re not knocking the friendship, they understand that. They just want to make sure no outside sources are financing that trip. But no one else did and we have the proof to show them. That’s what I provided to them and they’re going to go from there.”
Thompson’s statement seems to provide some clarity to the situation, but once the word “agent” was used in the inquiry this became a situation that the NCAA will look to investigate thoroughly.
So long as Paul (or any other representative) didn’t pay for any of Kabongo’s expenses he should be in good shape with the NCAA.
Kabongo currently remains in limbo obviously, but this development could be just what the sophomore needs to get on the fast track to being cleared of any wrongdoing.