INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA has suspended Texas basketball player Myck Kabongo of Toronto for 23 games for accepting impermissible benefits and providing false statements during an investigation into the infractions.
The Division I committee on student-athlete reinstatement announced the suspension Friday.
Kabongo also must repay US$475 to a charity of his choice. The NCAA will count all 11 games that Kabongo has missed toward the suspension. Texas had self-imposed a 10-game penalty.
The NCAA said Kabongo accepted airfare and personal training instruction and then provided false and misleading information about the infractions during two interviews with university officials.
Yahoo Sports has reported that the NCAA was examining whether Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron James, was involved in a trip Kabongo took to Cleveland last spring that included at least one workout with professional trainer Jerry Powell.
Texas officials were notified of the decision last week, the NCAA said. An appeal was heard Thursday, and the NCAA decided to overturn the original decision to suspend Kabongo for the entire season.
“Our thoughts now are with Myck Kabongo and his family,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said in a statement Friday night. “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.
“We couldn’t ask for a guy with better character in the way he has handled this situation. … 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.”
Kabongo started 34 games last season, averaging 9.6 points and 5.2 assists, and has been projected as a possible first-round NBA draft pick in 2013. Born in Congo and raised in Toronto, he spent his first three seasons of high school at St. Benedict’s Prep School in Newark, N.J., and finished at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.
“I appreciate Myck’s attitude through all of this,” Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said in a statement. “He has co-operated fully with the university and the NCAA and he has absolutely taken care of his business academically. Myck has grown through this experience and continues to be an important part of the team. I know he will continue to be that and we’re all looking forward to seeing him back on the court later this season.”