Summer Basketball Tales: Attempted Robbery Accomplice Rises; Promoters Extort Coaches

The phrase "summer basketball" should elicit warm feelings of guys playing hard in gyms, trying to make a name for themselves as they prepare to make the leap to college hoops. Instead you're left with stories that make you wonder if there's any sort of moral center in college hoops left at all. (And I'm not a purist who doesn't think cheating, etc., happens, but this stuff just gets depressing.) ↵

↵ ↵For Exhibit A, I'll submit the case of Anthony DiLoreto, who was once bound for Cal Poly, as detailed by CBS Sports' Gary Parrish. ↵

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↵⇥According to the charges, DiLoreto drove a 16-year-old friend to a bank in Wisconsin last August and waited outside during the robbery, presumably playing the role as the would-be getaway driver. But police said DiLoreto got scared when he heard sirens and left his friend alone inside the bank and without a ride [...] ↵⇥

↵⇥[T]he friend was caught walking down the street 45 minutes after the robbery. He told authorities that the gun he used belonged to DiLoreto, who was by then already making the 125-mile drive back home, where he was later arrested and charged. Predictably, DiLoreto did not enroll at Cal Poly as planned. Instead, he hired a lawyer, kept training and started working toward a plea bargain that could be agreed upon at a settlement hearing scheduled for Aug. 7. ↵⇥

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↵So that's it. It's a wrap on his career, right? Well, gun charges don't always end a career. (Lest we forget that Zach Randolph did 30 days in jail for selling a stolen gun and was still good enough for Michigan State to take on as a recruit.) In fact, it would seem that DiLoreto's stock has actually gone up, and he told CBS that he's actual gotten an offer from Saint Louis. Mike DeCourcy has it from DiLoreto that interest remains from Big Ten and West Coast Conference schools, too. ↵

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↵So, to review: Kid gets busted with gun charge in robbery attempt -- and only seems semi-contrite about the whole thing, according to coaches in the report -- and then his stock goes up? ↵

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↵If that's not enough to make you openly question what's going in college hoops, perhaps you could sample this lovely item from the New York Times on what can only be described as extortion in summer ball. ↵

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↵Coaches are dealing with slashed recruiting budgets, but tournament organizers still need to line their pockets somehow. The newest way to do this? Charging exorbitant fees for information packets and recruiting services. It's one of those stories that makes you scream "Where is the NCAA?" because, as the Times points out, the NCAA is the one who approves these events. ↵

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↵Just a few examples from the story: ↵

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↵-- Vandy coach Kevin Stallings drove 3 hours to watch a player but turned back -- after he paid a $10 admission -- when he was told he also had to purchase a $295 information packet on players that also doubled as an admission fee. ↵
↵-- Yale coach James Jones talked about paying $350 to watch one game because his only other option was to pay $600 for the recruiting service of one summer gatekeeper. ↵
↵-- Izzo refused to pay $100 for admission to an event when one of his other assistants had already paid a $250 entry into the Summer Jam tournament in Milwaukee. ↵

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↵So much money is changing hands with an awful lot of adults that have quite a bit of influence when kids are picking schools. You can see where that could lead. ↵

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↵With so many clearly outlined examples of wrongdoing -- or at least behavior that can only be described as ethically questionable -- will the NCAA finally jump in and do something on this, or will it only be after an entire AAU program is bought and paid for and a team has purchased a national title that action will come? Oh yeah, that answer is pretty obvious. ↵

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↵(H/T to The Dagger on the summer item) ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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