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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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Before OBC's second contest a few hours later, Davis spoke separately with Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua and Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney.

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Davis then took a seat in the third row of chairs. Dangling from his neck was a media credential he received thanks to his designation as a recruiting analyst.

Subscriptions to services such as Davis's are not uncommon expenses for college programs. In the past year, Virginia Tech purchased a subscription to a scouting service produced by the Squires Boys Basketball Foundation, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Squires Foundation funds the Richmond Squires AAU teams, for which Parker played for three seasons before switching to OBC. FOIA documents also showed North Carolina State subscribes to a scouting service produced by Gary Charles Inc. Gary Charles is the director of the New York Panthers AAU program.

Such ancillary opportunities are reasons why Humphrey, the NCAA compliance official, sees third parties attaching themselves to players who don't necessarily have can't-miss NBA potential.

"Guys are seeing the opportunity to make money, whether it's a significant amount of money because they've latched on to a kid and they see a pro contract" in the player's future, said Humphrey, who could not speak about specific cases. "Versus some of these guys, these scouting service guys, have figured out that even our mid-major [programs] may be willing to pay for a scouting service, so they're not necessarily linked to a direct prospect, but [the coaches] don't want their recruiting efforts to be hampered in the future."

Gibbons said the practice of hiring handlers to work at colleges' elite camps "has become very prevalent. It is to the point where, if you are going to get the kids you really want as a college coach, you've got to deal with that. You have no alternative, or you are not going to get the players you want to attend your camp."

* * *

Adding to the complexity of most third-party recruiting cases is the fact that the middlemen can gain their influence only with the implicit consent of the players or their parents. Speaking inside the run-down, one-story commercial building he owns in Washington, N.C., in late July, Omar Parker became louder and more agitated. His words reverberated off barren walls.

Mychal Parker's father said he had grown tired of hearing from college coaches who wondered exactly who Joe Davis was and how much influence Davis carried in Mychal's recruitment.

"That's a lie! That's a flat-out lie! He has no say-so over nothing!" Omar Parker said. "Joe has no bearings or nothing to do with me or Mychal!"

However, Omar Parker arranged at the beginning of the summer for Davis to serve as a means of transportation for his son to various camps and tournaments, and even once those calls from college coaches began to flow in, Parker allowed Davis's de facto guardianship of Mychal to continue. Omar Parker explained that he recently had hip surgery that prevented him from traveling with the youngest of his eight children; several sources said Omar did not typically travel to Mychal's games out of the area even before the surgery.

Mychal himself lent little clarity to the nature of his relationship with Davis.


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