Top recruits use support systems to avoid NCAA troublemakers

Published 8:03 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

ATLANTA (AP) — Cameron Reddish has known since ninth grade, when Penn State offered him a full scholarship, that he was a special basketball talent.

Three years later, Reddish and some of the top prep players in the country will play in Wednesday night’s McDonald’s All-American game. Reddish and some of his Duke-bound teammates in the prestigious game are all aware of the scandal that’s rocked college basketball this season with the FBI investigating corruption that led to criminal charges against assistant coaches, agents, apparel company employees and others.

“It’s crazy, it’s dirty, it’s kind of messed up,” Reddish told The Associated Press. “That’s a lot of grown men trying to get one over on young kids, so it’s a really messed up business, but at the end of the day you have to stay trustworthy to who you know.”

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Reddish, R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones are part of the Blue Devils’ recruiting class, considered the best in the nation.

They all say strong support systems have helped them steer clear of any unwanted contact.

Williamson, a South Carolina prep sensation with YouTube fan videos that have been viewed millions of times, understands how a teenager could get caught up in the whirlwind of attention. But Williamson said he never was tempted to meet with anyone who could possibly put his career in jeopardy.

He credits his stepfather, former Clemson player Lee Anderson, and his mother, Sharonda Sampson, with keeping unwelcome people from getting close.