When the Ben McLemore/Blackstock/Cobb story started to die down, I had a feeling Self and Co. might have told Ben to just stay quiet and let it pass. Probably the best course of action for everybody.
Then the combine rolled around this week, and it sounds like Ben went on the record about Cobb and Blackstock. Personally, I don’t care what really happened. From every indication, it sounds like Ben did not have any idea Cobb was receiving cash ($10k). It does sound like he potentially knew of the trips to LA and also about the birthday party.
That could be a problem.
Ben also revealed this week that he travelled to LA with Blackstock at some point as well (no timeline provided, but presumably after the season). He states that he paid for the trip himself. While I’m not questioning the veracity of Ben’s comments, I will say that “going public” only created more questions.
Ben probably felt obligated to defend himself, though. I get that. But he still probably should have kept quiet. It wouldn’t even have been that hard. If I were Ben’s PR team, I would have instructed him to say something like this:
“I’m just focused on the NBA and doing the best I can to put myself in a good position to be drafted. It’s my lifelong dream to play in the NBA, and I appreciate all the people along the way that have helped me get to this spot, including Coach Cobb and especially Bill Self.”
Bam. Done. Boring story for reporters.
Cobb could theoretically speak to NCAA regulators, but if the rest of the parties kept their mouths shut, there wouldn’t be a whole lot the NCAA could do to corroborate the story about what Ben knew or didn’t know. These kinds of investigations usually die because nobody wants to go on the record with the NCAA. And, of course, the NCAA has no subpoena power and can’t force anyone to talk.
We now have two of the four main parties involved, Ben and Cobb, saying they are open to talk.
In Seth Davis’ story, an NCAA spokesperson told him, “We are absolutely interested in talking to people to gather as many facts as possible, especially from those who no longer are a part of the NCAA but want to get to the truth.”
At this point, I kind of hope Ben goes with a “No Comment” whenever asked about this situation — by reporters, by NBA folks, and most definitely by NCAA regulators. He’d probably do himself a favor, not to mention KU and Coach Self.
We’ll see. What do you think about Ben’s decision to talk? Hit me up in the comments section or on Twitter.
AAU, AAU coach, Ben McLemore, bling, Blockstock, Cobb, iced out, McLemore, money, NBA draft, swerve