Gary Parrish of CBS Sports wrote what I thought was a benign column about incoming Kentucky basketball player Anthony Davis. In the column, Parrish recounted a tale from last August when a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times claimed, “The rumors/sources that have Davis choosing Kentucky are also alleging that the commitment cost $200,000. Davis Sr. has flat out denied everything.” The parents for Davis, a 6-foot-10 power forward who has a slick handle because he was a 6-foot-3 guard two years ago, threatened a lawsuit, but it never happened.
So Parrish asked Davis about the scandal.
“I really didn’t find out until and I went downstairs for dinner at the Nike Global [Challenge in Oregon last August],” Davis said. “[The other players] were like, ‘You’re all over [television]. They said you took money.’ I instantly called my Dad … and he said, ‘I’ll handle it. Don’t worry about it.’ And that was it. I let him handle it. I didn’t worry about it anymore.”
“I knew the truth,” he said. “I knew I didn’t take anything and I knew my family didn’t take anything. So I really wasn’t worried about it.”
No big deal, right? Standard operating procedure – Davis was embroiled in a scandal, so Parrish asked him about it. Except that Wildcats’ nation is extremely defensive UK coach John Calipari.
Someone in the UK basketball department threatened to pull Parrish’s credentials. It didn’t seem like a joke. And Matt Jones, writing for Kentucky Sports Radio – ground zero for Wildcat fans – said:
Unbelievably, Parrish writes this as if it is in good faith. He calls the O’Brien rumor a “report”, even though O’Brien never showcased any evidence and to his (minimal) credit, never suggested that it was the truth. Parrish then goes farther to suggest that this report “even if true, was thin.” Even if true, it was thin? Only if by thin you mean nonexistent. The Chicago Sun-Times article wasn’t even a report…it was the recitation of a rumor. My guess is that O’Brien himself wouldn’t even call the article a report, but Parrish has elevated it to a “thin” report and has left open the possibility it was true. He leaves the reader believing that a major newspaper reported Calipari paid a player, when it did no such a thing. Could that be any more irresponsible?
Calipari’s going to be under suspicion as long as he’s coaching college basketball because he gets the best recruits and he’s had two Final Fours vacated. That’s just how things are going to be, fair or not. I imagine that this Davis saga will be mentioned at some point during the season, and maybe again during in the NCAA tournament. It wouldn’t surprise me if Pete Thamel at the Times or Pat Forde at ESPN have been during their homework on the situation and will investigate (if they haven’t already).
Kentucky fans need to relax and enjoy the ride. Elite 8 in 2010. Final Four in 2011. Remember how horrible the Billy Gillispie years were?