Thompson admits role, denies wrongdoing
University of Texas guard Myck Kabongo is reportedly being investigated by the NCAA over whether he received improper benefits, and Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson has admitted having a role in a trip that is part of the reported investigation.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Kabongo flew to Cleveland this past summer for a private workout. The story said the trip was arranged by Cleveland-based agent Rich Paul, whose clients include Thompson and Heat star LeBron James.
If Paul, Thompson or anyone else covered expenses for Kabongo’s visit without reimbursement, Kabongo could have violated NCAA guidelines.
“Did I pay for him? Well, yes and no,” Thompson said last Thursday. “You know, I actually had to pay for it and then had his brother (Billy) 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 (any) eligibility issues. But that’s for the NCAA to work out.”
Thompson is entering his second NBA season. He also played at Texas and is childhood friends with Kabongo.
“I told the truth to (NCAA officials),” Thompson 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.”
Paul left CAA, the company that represented James, to start his own agency in September. Paul has offices in Cleveland and Akron (James’ hometown), and James has since made Paul his agent.
“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. “I haven’t been contacted by the NCAA and I wouldn’t put a kid in harm’s way. … 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.”
Kabongo, a 6-foot-1 guard, is entering his sophomore season with the Longhorns. He averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists per game last season and is a potential NBA first-round draft pick, according to several scouts and draft web sites.