Darius Cobb, an AAU basketball coach who claims he accepted two cash payments of $5,000 to “steer” Kansas guard Ben McLemore towards entering the 2013 NBA Draft, has issued a statement this morning via Coburn Enterprise.
“I want the media, KU Fans, and public to know University of Kansas – Head Coach Bill Self, his coaching staff, or any members at KU had no knowledge or involvement dealing with this issue.”
The statement comes in response to the USA Today report, in which Cobb claims a man named Rodney Blackstock, the CEO of Hooplife Academy, paid him to “sway” McLemore from returning to KU for another season. He also said that Blackstock covered the expenses on two trips to to Los Angeles for business meetings concerning the Jayhawks star.
Cobb also issued another statement, in which he says he will accept the role as the “fall guy”.
“I don’t want to hurt the McLemore family, I want to protect the family,” Cobb says. “If there had to be a bad guy, if there had to be a fall guy, let it be me, as opposed to ruining a great kid who has busted his butt to get where he is. Let me be the crooked AAU coach. I was willing to take the brunt of it for the sake of this kid. I wanted to keep him pure.”
Cobb claimed he took the payments because of “financial difficulties”.
Ben McLemore is currently projected as a top five pick by most NBA Draft analysts.