Update: 2:34p. 4/4/12. While we sit and watch UK’s banner raising, and the inevitable NBA Draft announcements coming from the Commonwealth, it’s worth remembering Syracuse, Kentucky and Anthony Davis once had a very uncomfortable love triangle. And some predicted it could blow a hole in college basketball’s shady recruiting scene.
Almost two years ago, the presumed top pick in the draft was at the center of an enormous recruiting melodrama. A reputable newspaper alleged Davis’ father was shopping him to the highest bidder (a la Cam Newton). The Davis family came out swinging, denying the report and even declaring it would file a lawsuit against the Sun-Times.
Media and fans speculated on who would have chirped to the paper about Davis getting paid? Two Fox Sports reporters suggested SU was the first school in on the big man. Imagine Davis and Melo as Twin Towers in the middle of Jim Boeheim’s zone? Might Orange assistant coaches been the ones to feel they were submarined by a late-to-the-party cashed check by John Calipari?
On August 6, 2010 a story in the Chicago Tribune reported an attorney representing Anthony Davis Sr. said a lawsuit “will be filed next week” against the Chicago Sun-Times and reporter Michael O’Brien. Interestingly, the original story was edited later and eventually removed. However, the Sun-Times then decided to stand by its report.
CBS Sports Gary Parrish laughed at the idea of a lawsuit three days later. “Oh, it could happen, I guess, if the Davis family is foolish enough to pursue it. But the more likely scenario, once everybody calms, has the family remaining silent and out of the spotlight until Davis’ final college decision is announced. In other words, they won’t sue and follow through with it. Almost nobody ever really sues media outlets and sees it through.”
Unless I’m missing something in my Google searches, the Davis clan never filed a lawsuit. The Sun-Times stood by its story. Davis was allowed to attend UK without incident. The Wildcats cut down the nets. And who knows, Cal might go a perfect three-for-three in schools with Final Fours vacated one day.
Here was our original report on The Fizz from August 7, 2010.
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Hoops recruit Anthony Davis is at the epicenter of a college recruiting bombshell and Syracuse had been a favorite in landing him.
Thursday the Chicago Sun-Times reported Kentucky had paid Davis’ family $200,000 to commit to the Wildcats. Of course, the school and the Davis’ are denying the allegations, but the idea a reputable news outlet would attach its name to this is damning at very least.
According to the paper, “sources from three separate universities told the Sun-Times that Davis Sr. asked for money in return for his son’s commitment, with the amounts ranging from $125,000 to $150,000.”
When reached by the Sun-Times, Davis’ father declined to respond further, saying: ”Thanks for ruining my son. Thank you very much.”
Could Syracuse have been one of the whistle-blowers in the Davis signing? Maybe. Before Davis recently committed to UK, FoxSports’ Jeff Goodeman and Scout’s Dave Telep (pictured) discussed the oddly instantaneous rise of Davis’ stock on the recruiting circuit.
“Back in April, only one high-major school even went to go see him. Syracuse Orangemen.
Syracuse Orangemen were the lone high-major school to enter Perspectives Charter.
This is gonna be an interesting couple weeks here. When all the attention came, he said this is overwhelming, I’m gonna cut it down to Ohio State, Kentucky and Syracuse.
Here’s a guy a year ago, I didn’t know that Anthony Davis existed and now he could be the top recruit in the country. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a meteoric rise like this. The three schools now that lead his list, are Syracuse, Ohio State and Kentucky. And the three coaches have all been courtside for all of his games.”
Merely speculation, but if the Dynamic Duo of Hop and Murph (or celebrity inspired nickname “MurphKins”) were first (and only) on the scene of a late-blossoming young man and suddenly the notoriously corrupt John Calipari whisks in and cuts a check, you may be motivated to let that leak. We’re not naive enough to believe the Orange hoops program is impeccably spotless, but if you’re MurphKins, how can you keep that hidden?
According to Goodeman and Telep, Roy Williams also began recruiting Davis hard toward the end of his recruitment. Coach Cal and Roy have a not-so-hidden distaste for one another. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, Williams would’ve been moved to corroborate the story as well.
A previously unknown recruit becomes suddenly-hot and looks to cash in on his buzz, while a notoriously scandalous head coach forks over cash to land him. Coaches who were in on the ground floor or heavily courted him at the end look to air the dirty laundry of a program that keeps landing elite players. Doesn’t seem so unrealistic. Just too bad MurphKins wasted all those frequent-flyer miles to be the first in the door on Davis.