AAU Coach Says Skal Labissiere's Guardian Wanted to Profit Off Him; Says Memphis & Kentucky Both in Play | Zagsblog
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Sunday / June 23.
  • AAU Coach Says Skal Labissiere’s Guardian Wanted to Profit Off Him; Says Memphis & Kentucky Both in Play

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    Confirming what he earlier told Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com in this column, Memphis-based AAU coach Keith Easterwood told SNY.tv that Gerald Hamilton, the guardian for five-star prospect Skal Labissiere, wanted to profit off the young man’s basketball skills.

    “Gerald started calling me 10 years ago asking me for money to bring basketball players over here,” Easterwood said Wednesday by phone.

    “At the time, I got so many calls from idiots like that that I really just ignored it. But he would be persistent in calling.”

    Easterwood said he hasn’t spoken to Hamilton for six months but said the situation was well known in basketball circles and that Hamilton had made his intentions known to college coaches and agents.

    Parrish and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman also reported that the NCAA has begun to build a file on the 6-foot-11 Labissiere, although an NCAA source was unable to confirm that to SNY.tv.

    “I don’t know that anything’s happened right now to hurt his eligibility,” Easterwood said.

    Hamilton, who runs an outfit called Reach Your Dream Prep for which Labissiere is supposed to play this season, did not respond to a text message seeking comment.

    One college coach called Labissiere himself a “wonderful young man who doesn’t deserve all this negativity because some people have an axe to grind with Gerald.”

    Labissiere took to Twitter to say, “I didn’t know so many people cared so much about me lol.”

    Labissiere is set to announce his college choice Thursday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. He is considering Kentucky, Memphis, Baylor, North Carolina, Georgetown and Tennessee.

    Kentucky is seven hours away from Hamilton in Memphis.

    “He’ll step to a microphone tomorrow and announce for Kentucky,” Easterwood said. “Memphis is a possibility…It may be difficult for that family to let” Labissiere leave for Kentucky.

    “Kentucky is obviously the school to beat,” Easterwood said.

    Labissiere’s story has been well documented.

    Born in Haiti, he was pinned under a pile of rubble after the devastating earthquake that hit that country on Jan. 12, 2010 and killed more than 200,000 people.

    He was ultimately rescued by his father, and later came to the United States, where he enrolled at Evangelical Christian in Memphis to play for legendary Tennessee high school coach Terry Tippett.

    “He worked with me on the fundamentals of the game,” Labissiere said.

    He then transferred to Lausanne Collegiate School (in Memphis) and hopes to play for Reach Your Dream Prep.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.

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