Tristan Thompson

Texas point guard Myck Kabongo will travel to Maui but hasn’t been cleared to play

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According to a release sent out by the school Texas sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo has been cleared to travel with the team to Maui, where they will play in the Maui Invitational next week.

However the Toronto native still has not been cleared to play as a result of an ongoing investigation into how his expenses were paid for on a summer trip to Akron, Ohio for a workout.

While friend and former Findlay Prep teammate Tristan Thompson, a forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, came forward and admitted that he paid for Kabongo’s expenses the NCAA is looking into a relationship between Kabongo and agent Rich Paul.

Thompson stated that Kabongo’s brother reimbursed him for the payment of Kabongo’s expenses for that trip to Akron.

“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.”

With Kabongo sidelined the first two games Texas head coach Rick Barnes handed the keys to the offense to freshman Javan Felix, one of three freshmen to start for the 2-0 Longhorns.

In two games Felix has struggled with his shooting, going 5-of-18 from the field in wins over Fresno State and Coppin State. In the 55-53 win over Fresno State, Felix finished with ten points, nine rebounds and an assist but while failing to score in the win over Coppin State he dished out nine assists.

Over the course of two games the New Orleans native has tallied ten assists and 11 turnovers with an average of 35.5 minutes per contest.

Offensively for the Longhorns it’s been sophomore Sheldon McClellan leading the way, as he’s the lone player averaging double figures (22.5 ppg) while shooting 50% from the field. Six players are averaging between 5.0 and 7.5 points per game, with freshman forward Ioannis Papepetrou averaging 7.5 points and 8.0 rebounds.

Texas’ first game in Maui is against host Chaminade and while the Silverswords have pulled off a few upsets throughout the history of the event, it’s unlikely that Texas would be in serious trouble if Kabongo was forced to sit that one out.

Take care of Chaminade and the Longhorns would face either Illinois or USC in the semifinals.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Myck Kabongo practicing with Texas as Longhorns wait for word from NCAA

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Texas sophomore Myck Kabongo will practice with the Longhorns as the NCAA continues to investigate his case, involving a look into the nature of his relationship with a professional agent.

According to Texas head coach Rick Barnes, as reported by the Associated Press, Kabongo has not been ruled ineligible by the NCAA and the school’s compliance department is cooperating with the investigation.

”We don’t know anything,” Barnes told the AP. ”We’re going about our business and we’ll do that until we find out what the situation might be, and we’ll just go from there.”

The investigation is looking into Kabongo’s relationship with agent Rich Paul, who also represents NBA star LeBron James and former Texas Longhorns Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph. Paul allegedly called NBA front offices on behalf of Kabongo, which would violate his amateur status, then Kabongo returned to Texas.

”We haven’t thought about it,” Barnes said. ”We’re just talking about what we have to do as a team. We feel we have enough people that we got to do what we’ve got to do.”

During his freshman season, Kabongo averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists per game for a team that finished 20-14 and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament.

If he were to be ruled ineligible at the conclusion of this investigation, it could be a major hit for this young Longhorns roster.

”Myck’s worked really hard. He’s worked really hard as a leader, and he brings a lot of energy every day,” Barnes said. ”We’ll just wait and see and we’ll go from there.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Cleveland Cavalier Tristan Thompson admits to paying Myck Kabongo’s expenses

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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.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

NCAA investigating Texas point guard Myck Kabongo for possible impermissible benefits

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As reported by Yahoo! Sports, the NCAA is investigating Texas point guard Myck Kabongo for the possible receipt of impermissible benefits.

Kabongo, who hails from Toronto, has been interviewed multiple times by the NCAA in regards to his summer workouts in Akron, Ohio with former Texas teammate and close friend Tristan Thompson.

One of the questions for Kabongo, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports, is the relationship he has with sports agent Rich Paul.

Paul represents both Thompson and LeBron James, and according to Yahoo sources called NBA executives on behalf of Kabongo in the months leading up to the NBA Draft (this is legal).

“We’re aware of the situation,” Texas basketball media relations official Scott McConnell said according to both Yahoo! Sports and CBSSports.com. “But we have not heard any decisions from the NCAA.”

The NCAA would like to know how Kabongo paid for his expenses in Akron, hence the questions about his relationship with Paul.

Kabongo’s time in Akron according to the Yahoo report included a workout with professional trainer Jerry Powell.

Powell denied any wrongdoing on his part in interviews with both the NCAA and Yahoo.

“I told the NCAA my side of the story,” Powell told Yahoo! Sports. “I’m sure Myck told his side. I’m not trying to ruin nobody’s eligibility. It’s never been about anything but workouts with me. I’m a trainer. That’s all. I’m not aligned with anybody. I’m my own person. I don’t get caught up with any of that.”

An agent can have a relationship with a student-athlete and his family provided there’s no agreement on representation or promise of financial benefits, according to NCAA rules.

Finding that Paul or someone else handled Kabongo’s expenses would result in the sophomore having to be declared ineligible.

“At the end of the day, here’s the main thing, it’s no crime to have a relationship with the kid,” Paul told Yahoo! Sports. “Of course, I know Myck through Tristan and Cory. I haven’t been contacted by the NCAA and I wouldn’t put a kid in harm’s way. My time in Cleveland was getting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist prepared for the draft. I live in Cleveland.

“I would never disrespect anybody’s program. I love the game of basketball. I understand the business of basketball, but I’m about doing it the right way.”

So if this happens what would Rick Barnes do with the point guard position?

Even with Kabongo the Longhorns are young on the perimeter thanks to J’Covan Brown going pro and Sterling Gibbs’ decision to transfer to Seton Hall.

But if the preseason All-Big 12 selection has to sit Texas would be down to a pair of freshmen (Javan Felix and Demarcus Holland) and two sophomores (Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan) in their rotation.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Findlay Prep (Nev.) head coach Mike Peck hired as coach of NBADL’s Idaho Stampede

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Mike Peck, coach of powerhouse Findlay Prep (Nev.), has accepted a position as the head coach with the NBA Developmental League’s Idaho Stampede, the team announced Tuesday.

The Stampede organization is the D-League affiliate of the Portland Trailblazers.

“This is a great opportunity with a wonderful organization,” Peck said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity ahead of me.”

In five seasons with Findlay Prep, Peck has amassed a stellar 157-8 record, winning the National High School Invitational three times and never losing a game at home (65-0).

While at Findlay, he coached six future NBA players: Corey Joseph, DeAndre Liggins, Avery Bradley, Tristan Thompson, Joel Anthony, and Louis Amundson.

“Michael Peck will be a great fit for the Stampede and the Trail Blazers,” Trail Blazers Assistant General Manager Bill Branch said in the release. “He brings a work ethic and experience that will benefit the Stampede and the continued development of our players.”

Before coming to Findlay Prep, Peck worked as a video coordinator at UNLV from 2003-06 and as an assistant at Saginaw Valley State from 1998-2003.

“We are excited that Portland has picked the right fit to improve the product on the floor,” Stampede President and General Manager Steve Brandes said in the statement. “The combination of his player development skill set and understanding of business development and the community will be a huge asset to our franchise.”

Findlay Prep assistant Todd Simon will now take over at head coach at the school.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Stanford Robinson transferring to Findlay Prep

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Stanford Robinson, a 6-foot-4 guard that currently ranks right around the top 50 in the Class of 2013, announced on Wednesday, via his twitter account, that he would be transferring high schools for the upcoming school year.

“I want to thank everybody at Paul Vi for everything they have done for me and helping me become the person I am today. I will always Love PVI but this Year I Will be attending FINDLAY PREP.”

Findlay Prep is a high school out in Las Vegas known for producing elite hoops talent. This season, Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Winston Shepard (San Diego State), Brandon Ashley (Arizona) and Dominic Artis (Oregon) all head to the college ranks from Findlay. Avery Bradley, Tristan Thompson, Myck Kabongo, Cory Joseph and Nick Johnson are all alumni of the school.

“I just feel like I needed to advance my game,” Robinson, who heads west on Sunday, told the Washington Post. “And every night I’ll be going against bigger and better players and I think that’ll help me.”

Robinson is currently committed to Indiana.

(Photo credit: DMVElite)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.