With former escort Katina Powell releasing her book “Breaking Cardinal Rules” earlier this month, one of the questions was what would happen to the current college basketball players whose names appear in the book. Among those named are Ohio State freshman JaQuan Lyle and LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney, and with the NCAA lacking subpoena power current players become likely interview subjects for the investigation.
LSU head coach Johnny Jones was asked about the status of his freshman guard at SEC Media Day in Charlotte on Wednesday, and Jones is confident that Blakeney won’t be sidelined as a result of the ongoing investigation according to ESPN.com.
“I’m not privy to all the information, and it’s an ongoing investigation, but to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think he felt as though he wasn’t aware of what was going on,” Jones said.
Asked if he thought he would have to hold Blakeney out of any games Jones said he did not.
Both Blakeney and Lyle have spoken to the NCAA regarding this case, and like Jones the people at Ohio State were confident that their freshman was in no danger of missing time as a result. While current players can be painted into a corner of sorts when it comes to situations such as this, avoiding punishment comes down to being forthright with information.
And while critics of the NCAA will argue about the fairness of dangling eligibility over the head of an athlete, that’s the way these things have and will be handled due to the organization’s lack of subpoena power over those who aren’t a part of collegiate athletics as a coach, player or administrator.
Video credit: ESPN
Ben Simmons, arguably the top player in the Class of 2015 and the potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, made his debut for LSU on Saturday in an 89-75 win over Newcastle All-Stars in the first game of LSU’s Australia trip.
Simmons led the Tigers with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in 37 minutes. LSU’s other heralded freshman, Antonio Blakeney, finished with 16 points. Rising senior guard Keith Hornsby added 17.
LSU trailed by 10 early in the second quarter. But the Tigers wrestled away the lead for good when Simmons converted on an old-school 3-point play with over three minutes to go in the second quarter. LSU ended the first half on a 12-4 run.
For Simmons, who spent the majority of the last year atop the Rivals Class of 2015 rankings, Saturday was a homecoming, playing at the Newcastle Basketball Stadium where his father, Dave Simmons, played professionally for the Newcastle Falcons in the late 1990s.
“It was amazing,” Simmons said after the game. “The last time I was here (at Newcastle Stadium) I was real young and I couldn’t dunk and do the things I do now. It’s really fun and it was great seeing familiar faces here. The people watching me stretch was crazy to me. It was a great feeling. An unbelievable experience.”
LSU has four more games before returning to Baton Rouge. The Tigers face the Sydney Kings on Sunday night in Sydney. Following Tuesday night’s game against the Queensland All-Stars in Auchenflower, LSU finishes the tour with back-to-back games against Melbourne United on Thursday and Saturday.
Now that the season is over for Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, he has a chance to play pick-up ball in his native Florida against some high-level incoming college freshman. Rivers, a former Duke guard, is a bit of a mixtape legend of his own in high school and he went against two talented future college players in LSU rising freshman Antonio Blakeney and Rutgers rising freshman Corey Sanders.
The pick-up game occurred in Winter Park, Florida and Home Team Hoops was there to film the highlights.