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.
By JOSH NEWMANSpecial to ZAGSBLOG
After the NCAA crushed the University of Texas and sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo with a one-year suspension for receiving impermissible benefits and then lying about it, the NCAA cut the Longhorns and the Canadian sensation a break.
Early Friday evening, the NCAA announced it has reduced Kabongo’s suspension to 23 games following an appeal being heard by the Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement. Additionally, he will need to repay $475 in impermissible benefits to a charity of his choice.
“Our thoughts now are with Myck Kabongo and his family,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said in a statement released by the school. “We feel for Myck. He made some mistakes early in this process, and he put himself in a tough position. That said, he was truthful and forthcoming when he talked with the NCAA.”
Barnes continued: “Despite what happened, (Kabongo) has been a great leader for this team and we will count on him to continue that as we move forward. When I talked to him tonight after the decision had been made, Myck’s thoughts were only about our team and our program. That is a tribute to Myck and his family, and it tells you everything you need to know about Myck.”
The 23-game suspension includes the 10 self-imposed games Texas had Kabongo sit out. With 13 more missed games on the horizon, Kabongo should become eligible to play on Feb. 13 when Texas hosts Iowa State in Austin. Without Kabongo, the Longhorns are 7-4 this season.
The Longhorns had sat Kabongo while the NCAA investigated whether or not he accepted impermissible benefits from agent Rich Paul, whose client list includes LeBron James, as well as fellow-Canadians Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph.
According to a statement released by the NCAA, “Kabongo accepted airfare, personal training instruction and then provided false and misleading information during two separate interviews with university officials.”
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