The guardian of Skal Labissiere, a five-star 2015 big man committed to Kentucky, is defending his recent actions to get the senior eligible to play high school basketball this season while also addressing controversy surrounding recent allegations of attempting to profit off of players. Gerald Hamilton, Labissiere’s legal guardian, and head coach and founder of Reach Your Dream Prep, has been criticized for potentially jeopardizing Skal’s college eligibility. But according to a report from Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal, Hamilton defended his actions and said that Kentucky also supports his plans.
“We had conversations with Kentucky, and we shared everything that we thought might be a possibility of being a conflict with the NCAA,” Hamilton said in the Courier-Journal story. “And I’m pretty sure they were confident. They were like, ‘Is that all?!’ I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ They were like, ‘Well, whatever.’ I just got the vibe that, ‘Hey, you don’t have anything to worry about it.’
“There’s a lot of lies going on, lies, and unfortunately, it’s very, very political where we’re from. Skal’s a very high-profile (player), and some people put out some real bad stuff about me that’s not true. It got people thinking preconceived thoughts about me. … (UK’s coaches) were like, ‘If you didn’t do anything, don’t worry about it.’ And I haven’t. We’ve been on the up and up, and that’s it.”
Hamilton also offered up that the NCAA has been involved with asking him questions:
“Oh, yeah, they have investigated,” Hamilton said of the NCAA. “Of course, they hear all the rumors – and that’s what they are, rumors – going out about me, and they have a right to do their job. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff that went out about me, a lot of people don’t even know me. I don’t know how they got the information. But they’re doing their job, and we’re doing our job. We don’t have anything to hide.”
There were also responses to a Memphis Commercial-Appeal story about Hamilton rejecting another former player for not being athletically gifted enough. Overall, some enlightening quotes from Hamilton on a unique situation. For all of the hoopla surrounding Labissiere’s senior season, he seems pretty happy with how things are working out, smiling and taking pictures after the loss and enjoying playing a more difficult national schedule than he would at a normal high school.
It’s also no surprise that the NCAA has been involved with Hamilton, given that there are allegations that Hamilton has asked how to profit off of a prospect from a grassroots coach in a CBSSports.com report from Gary Parrish.
This whole situation is a lot to deal with for a high school kid, so it’s good to see that Labissiere seems happy and he’s still putting up big games like the 32-point, 7-rebound effort in the loss to Oak Hill on Friday night. This is going to take some time to sort through, as I’m sure we’ll hear more about the NCAA getting involved and if Labissiere is deemed eligible for high school all-star games later in the season.