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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting Update: How Much of a Risk is Involved in the Recruiting of Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad?

Everyone knows, if they are willing to admit it or not, that recruiting the so-called "one and done" player comes with some level of risk. Elite players at the high school level are commonly exposed to multiple personalities that do not have their best interest at heart, these parasites are only out for themselves. We know that Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist calls William "World-Wide-Wes" Wesley his uncle. We are all aware of John Calipari's past dealings with this mysterious figure.

I don't think World-Wide-Wes is an issue, simply because he has never been an issue. Yes, it seems a bit shady but World-Wide-Wes has been connected since the days of Micheal Jordan and he is not one of those "desperate" hang-arounds that commonly prey on the elite scholastic athlete. He is established, he has Jay-Z on voice-dial. There is no need to worry about World-Wide-Wes, unless he turns out to be a soldier in the Gambino crime family, which is highly unlikely. He is a fixer, a person who makes introductions, a man who can set things up, a man that makes things happen. And with all the media investigations into this shady-smokey-room figure nothing out of line has truly been discovered.

Now we examine the other side of the fence. The side of scholastic sports that I personally experienced in my highschool days. I was not a great athlete, I was a bench-warmer in every sense of the word but I was acquainted with a few elite athletes and it was not uncommon to see the occasional "Benjamin" being slipped into the pockets of these guys. That's small fries, low level corruption, that happens everywhere.

Red flags have been raised with regard to Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel. Both athletes have been acquainted with shady figures who may, one day, come back to haunt them. As Calipari enjoys his first national championship I hope the strict oversight into recruiting continues. I certainly fear that a system of winning at all cost will soon create an atmosphere of naivety within the UK Basketball program.

Shabazz Muhammad is already under investigation because of his family's relationship with two top financial advisors Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanagh. I cannot recall the NCAA ever, during the one and done era, warning schools with regard to potential eligibility issues of a certain recruit. UK experienced this heartache first hand with Enes Kanter last season. I find it highly interesting that the NCAA is taking a proactive approach with Muhammad's eligibility. It should raise a flag or two but none of the schools who were warned by the NCAA are backing off, they are all still in the mix for Muhammad's services.

Kavanagh has admitted to supporting Muhammad's summer team and it seems likely that money has been paid to Muhammad's family as well. Kavanagh went so far as to say he wishes to "represent" Muhammad when he makes it to the NBA. However, the family and Kavanagh claim that they have been friends since Muhammad was in 7th grade, long before he was a scholastic basketball star. This would seem to provide a "loophole" that would allow Kavanagh to provide certain financial assistance to Muhammad's family and summer team. This is similar to the situation involving Josh Selby at Kansas. Even though Selby had to sit a few games, and repay the money he was provided, the relationship with the "agent" involved was determined to be a preexisting relationship which in turn allowed Selby to retain his amateur status while at Kansas. So at very least the NCAA has set precedent that would likely result in Muhammad having to sit a few games and repay some cash. But it doesn't end there. Muhammad is also said to be involved with Adidas. Some have claimed that Muhammad's father, Ron Holmes, is actually on the Adidas payroll. One very ominous quote from Muhammad's father with regard to the Adidas relationship is this quote he provided CBS Sports;

"We do not think we've done anything wrong," Holmes said. "But if we have, we'll deal with it."

"But if we have". That is a scary quote because that certainly leaves the door open to the possibility of an extraordinary relationship between Homes, Muhammad and Adidas.

Nerlens Noel also has a few dark figures hovering around him as well. Nerlens Noel was the hometown hero of Everette, Mass and was expected to be the glory of Everett High School. There is a wonderful story of the community coming together to help raise the sports stand out, providing him necessary assistance such as: shoes, coats in the winter, and rides to practice. Nerlens' parents were hard working immigrants and the community picked up the bill for Noel when needed. However, Nerlens shocked the tight-knit community when he decided to leave Everette High and attend Tilton School in New Hampshire, an expensive prep-school. The man who is said to have steered Nerlens to Tilton was Chris Driscoll.

The sheet on Driscoll is a mile long and ten miles wide. He conned his way into an assistant coaching position, a job he was certainly not qualified for, at Providence College. It has been said that the only reason Discroll was hired at Providence was the promise of the successful recruitment of Noel. Driscoll appears to have had a bogus degree from Amherst University and a heavily fudged resume that claimed he raised millions of dollars for multiple non profits when the figure was actually in the tens of thousands, not millions. Driscoll was also under investigation by the school for supposedly asking a player to fake injury so Providence would lose games, in turn the head coach would be fired and Driscoll believed he would then obtain the head coaching position. A charge that the school could not, or was unwilling to, prove.

Then there is Ty Sullivan, a low level agent with Creative Artists Agency, the same agency that represents Kentucky Coach John Calipari and also employs William "World-Wide-Wes" Wesley. Sullivan has been trying to inject his presence into Noel's inner circle and probably his recruitment as well. While this relationship is a little more mysterious than the Driscoll connection there is still smoke, and where there is smoke there is fire.

At the end of the day no one really knows what the end result of all these dubious relationships will be. All we can do is investigate and speculate. We do not know if anything improper even occurred between these vampires and Muhammad and Noel but it sure makes one think.

I truly think Muhammad and Noel are both potential risks and I will even inject a little conspiracy theory as well. I have always believed that if Kanter had played for a Kansas, Duke or a North Carolina he would have played at least half the season. I truly believe the NCAA slammed the gavel harder because Kanter was in a UK uniform. This may be a result of past animosity of between the NCAA and UK, which is well documented, or likely a result of the ever growing feud between Calipari and the NCAA, which is also very well documented. I believe if anything is found to be improper with regard to Muhammad and or Noel they will punished more severely if they wear the Blue and White. Mark my words.

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