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Actions of Third Parties Can Muddy Recruiting Waters

Joe Davis, left, agreed to transport and watch over recruit Mychal Parker as he traveled across country to showcase his talents this summer, but many feel that Davis managed to blur the line between caretaker and power broker.  (Marlene Karas - For The Post)
Joe Davis, left, agreed to transport and watch over recruit Mychal Parker as he traveled across country to showcase his talents this summer, but many feel that Davis managed to blur the line between caretaker and power broker. (Marlene Karas - For The Post)

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Davis, who agreed to answer questions about his involvement in Parker's recruitment only through e-mail, wrote, "I have never asked schools to subscribe to gain access to Mychal."

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Parker also attended two elite camps this summer, at Virginia and Maryland. Davis transported Parker to both camps and worked as an instructor at Maryland's. Davis, who had no previous coaching experience at any level, "was helping [assistant coach Chuck] Driesell with the shooting drills," Parker said.

According to a source familiar with Parker's recruitment, Davis called Virginia Tech assistant James Johnson in June and said he would have Parker attend the Hokies' elite camp if Virginia Tech paid Davis $500 to be a camp instructor. Virginia Tech declined and is no longer recruiting Parker, who did not attend the school's elite camp.

Davis denied ever asking college coaches to hire him as an instructor at their elite summer camps in exchange for bringing Mychal to those camps. "Virginia Tech made this claim because Mike did not go to their elite camp," Davis wrote.

Davis also wrote: "Maryland and Virginia would not be his top two schools if there were the desire to receive monetary benefits for his basketball talents. There are several schools out there, and you know who they are, that would pay good money for a player of Mychal's caliber -- yet none of them are on Mychal's list."

A source with knowledge of Nike's summer basketball event operations said Davis contacted shoe company representatives in the days leading up to the Paul Pierce Skills Academy in June and requested "added benefits" in return for Parker's attendance. Nike declined. Parker did not participate in any Nike events this summer.

Davis acknowledged requesting that Nike pay to fly him to the Paul Pierce Academy. "I didn't know it was a violation until they told me and then I backed off," Davis wrote.

More broadly, Davis wrote: "I try to do everything the right way. Maybe I've unknowingly made a mistake, only to be corrected later, but everything with Mychal's recruitment has been clean."

* * *

One reason commonly cited for the proliferation of third-party recruiting is the way the NCAA limits contact between college coaches and recruits. On the first Monday of July, the walls throughout Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena were adorned with signs explicitly stating that college coaches could have no contact with any player, any player's AAU coach or anyone affiliated with a player. NCAA bylaws designate July as an evaluation period for college coaches, who may observe but not interact with prospective recruits. The NCAA dispatched enforcement officials to many AAU events this summer, in part to monitor coaches' actions.

Yet while Parker and his AAU team, the Ohio Basketball Club, played their first game of the Adidas-sponsored It Takes Five Classic, Joe Davis sat courtside among a row of folding chairs reserved for college coaches and media members. College coaches also converged on Court 6 to watch Parker.

Virginia assistant Ron Sanchez conversed with Davis throughout the second half. Maryland Coach Gary Williams and assistant Rob Ehsan chatted with Davis after the game finished.


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