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Did IU basketball recruit get illegal benefits?

Friday, May 27, 2011 - 10:50 am

Did Indiana basketball recruit Hanner Perea receive illegal benefits from his travel-team coach?

An ESPN.com story alleges that Perea, part of coach Tom Crean's heralded Class of 2012, received a cellphone, an iPod, a $400 laptop and air travel expenses back to his native Bogota, Colombia, home from Mark Adams, who coaches the Indiana Elite travel team and runs the A-HOPE (African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education) Foundation. ESPN.com reported that those benefits might mean NCAA rules regarding preferential treatment and extra benefits were broken.

That could affect Perea's eligibility to play at Indiana.

Adams said in the story that he did provide Perea, a 6-9 forward, with those items, but that he had talked to the NCAA and IU's compliance staff about his relationship with Perea and the A-HOPE Foundation. He said he has used much of his own money to support the foundation and does it to help disadvantaged African athletes.

The ESPN.com story also said Indiana Elite pushes players to attend Indiana University. The two players in IU's Class of 2011 (Austin Etherington and Cody Zeller) played in the Indiana Elite program. All five of the Hoosiers' Class of 2012 players (Yogi Ferrell, Ron Patterson, Jeremy Hollowell, Peter Jurkin and Perea) are from Indiana Elite.

Still, Indiana Elite also has sent players to Purdue, Butler, Ohio State, Kentucky, Ohio State, North Carolina, Duke and Michigan.

For instance, Marshall and Mason Plumlee went to Duke; Tyler Zeller went to North Carolina; Terone Johnson, Patrick Bade, Lewis Jackson and D.J. Byrd went to Purdue; Deandre Liggins went to Kentucky, and Erik Frohm went to Butler.

Also, Purdue coach Matt Painter once played in the Indiana Elite program. So did Butler coach Brad Stevens.

The ESPN.com story never said Indiana did anything wrong, but did question the hiring and leaving of Drew Adams, Mark Adams' son. The younger Adams was hired as a video coordinator as well as director of basketball operations a couple of years ago. He was affiliated with the Indiana Elite program before coming to IU. He left this spring for New Mexico and basketball coach Steve Alford.

The implication was that Crean hired Drew Adams to help form a pipeline between Indiana Elite and the Hoosiers.

A message left for IU's media relations director, J.D. Campbell, was not returned.