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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / October 20.
  • Gallon Defends Self Against NCAA Investigation

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    GREENBURGH, N.Y. Keith “Tiny” Gallon says his mother needed $3,000 from a former Merrill Lynch financial adviser to get his high school transcript released so that he could attend Oklahoma University.

    “Oak Hill wouldn’t release my transcript under no circumstances and my mother had to do what she had to do,” Gallon said Thursday following a workout with the Knicks at their training facility.

    “It wasn’t an agent, it was a financial adviser. She got the money from him, got my transcript out of Oak Hill Academy. I got a single mother. When she got the money, she paid the financial adviser back through my freshmen year.”

    TMZ.com broke the news in March that financial adviser Jeffrey Hausinger last August wired $3,000 into a joint back account owned by Gallon and his mother, Sylvia Wright.

    Gallon says Hausinger went to TMZ with the story after he was forced to resign from the Tampa-based Merrill Lynch office March 26.

    “The head man in the financial group fired him [Hausinger] so he came came back and told TMZ that I took money,” Gallon said. “TMZ never let me tell my side of the story.”

    He added: “It wasn’t how it looked. My mother did what she could do to let me go to school. My mother didn’t have $3,000 to pay to a school [or else] I wouldn’t be able to go to school.”

    Sources said Wright put off paying Gallon’s Oak Hill tuition throughout the season and that ultimately her brother paid Gallon’s tuition so that he could attend summer school at Oklahoma.

    Oak Hill president Dr. Michael Groves confirmed that the school did receive a payment from the Gallon family about a year ago but that there was “nothing unusual or tawdry” about it.

    “We did receive payment from a family member toward his student account,” Groves said. “I wouldn’t have any information about the origin of the funding.”

    Groves also said that NCAA officials had been at Oak Hill — a national basketball powerhouses in Mouth of Wilson, Va. — within the last two weeks to look at financial records related to the matter.

    “They were on campus a couple weeks ago, I believe,” Groves said. “I have no idea what the NCAA would be looking for.”

    Gallon says the money came to his family from Hausinger and that they used it to pay his Oak Hill tuition.

    “Oak Hill gave my mother a bill for $3,000,” Gallon said. “Until she paid, I couldn’t go to school. It wasn’t like I was getting the money and paying it to everybody. Three thousand dollars, that’s nothing to get my transcript…She paid the man back over the course of my freshman year.”

    Gallon said the story — and subsequent joint investigation by Oklahoma and the NCAA — is the major reason he left school after his freshman season. He is projected as a late-first or early-second round pick in the June 24 NBA Draft.

    “Yeah, that was one of the reasons,” Gallon said of why he left school. “Basically, that was the reason. We stillĀ  haven’t gotten an answer from the NCAA so [Oklahoma coach] Jeff Capel and my mother talked about it. He was like, ‘He might as well come out. They’re going to wait this long’ because they [the NCAA] were supposed to get back to me in a week but it was like two months. So we just came out and that was my decision.”

    Oklahoma is implicated in the case because phone records link former assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro to Hausinger. Taliaferro abruptly resigned April 8.

    One national columnist has called for Oklahoma to get the “death penalty,” pointing out that the school was already on probation for “deliberate noncompliance” and “willful violations” at the time the Gallon/Taliaferro situation happened.

    Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione told TMZ the school is committed to following NCAA rules, and “any activity not in compliance is taken seriously and is acted upon swiftly.”

    As for what will happen at Oklahoma, Gallon said, “I’m really not sure but shouldn’t nothing happen. They’re probably going to be a little more strict, but whatever they do it’s on them.”

    (Photo courtesy CBS Sports)

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • There is no doubt that Oklahoma and Jeff Capel know about this and they need to pay the price in a big way because there is no other way to say it but they are cheaters and guess what cheaters never prosper. And for Keith Gallon to say it’s not his fault but it lays more on the school is just ridiculous. If your reading this Gallon and I hope you are the problem here is not just on Oklahoma alone but on you and your mother too. Look here kid it’s your mother’s fault for taking the money because both you and your mother know that taking this money was wrong and so what if your mother needed this money to pay the bills and help you get to school that does not mean you need to cheat ok kid. If your mother needed the money so bad then she needed to get another job to pay for it then sitting on her ass and try to get it the wrong way because there are other people out there that are in the same boat as you and your mother was but they find a way to do it the right way not your cheating way. So please don’t blame just the school here Gallon because it’s more on you and your mother’s fault here ok kid. And the other thing here is that your never going to be good in the NBA anyways and once your gone from the NBA and basketball for good like in four years then guess what you and your ungrateful mother will be without money once again and guess what punk no one will every help you out again and you can count on that. So long cheater.

    • There is no doubt that Oklahoma and head coach Jeff Capel know about this and they aloud it to happen because they are cheaters and that’s all you can say about them. But for Keith Gallon to say it’s not his and his mother’s fault at all for taking the money is just ridiculous. No matter what Gallon also should get fined or at least his mother should for taking the money because they both know it was wrong at least his mother did. And please don’t come here Gallon and say that your mother needed the money to help get you to school and also pay for your guys bills because there are other people that are in the same boat as you and your mother was but they did not cheat but what they did was they get another job and that’s what your lazy mother should have done was get not just one job but get another or three jobs at once to pay off your guys debt then cheat. So there is no doubt that Oklahoma, Capel and Gallon should pay big in this fiasco then just Oklahoma alone.

    • Come down from pedestal and join us in the real world. Any mother in the country would do what she has to do to send her son to school. You sit there and blame this guy with your condensending , OK kid, remarks but the reality is, why on earth would he pass up on this type of opportunity to make something of himself over $3000 and some BS rules. Try to switch places with him and ask yourself if you would just go ahead and not attend college because there is outstanding bill that you could get paid but is against some ridiculous NCAA rule. I wouldnt. He and his mother should aplogize to no one for this. THere is no way I would let Miles Brand and his irrelevant rules stop me from attending college. Kids get loans everday for college , I dont see this as any different. You want to penalize kids for this type of thing and penalize coaches for this but if you look at the big picture all they did was help the player. He was able to go collee and on to the NBA, when he looks back on this , he will thank his mother and she will know she did the right thing