By now you have probably read this article by Pete Thamel of the New York Times, in which he quotes a Turkish GM as claiming his team paid Enes Kanter over $100,000 while he was part of their team in Turkey. As part of that article, Thamel goes into some detail on the Kanter issue with his Turkish team, but he also throws in an odd allegation about Max Ergul, suggesting (without evidence) that me may have been an agent that helped bring Kanter over to the United States. As “proof” of this allegation, Thamel contacted Rodney Crawford, a newly appointed Assistant Coach at Duquesne, and the former coach at Mountain State, where Kanter once attended school. Thamel gave quotes from Crawford in the piece:
The former Mountain State coach Rodney Crawford, now an assistant at Duquesne, said Ergul acted as an adviser for Kanter.
“I don’t feel comfortable talking much about him,” Crawford said of Ergul. “I don’t want to be talking about it. He’s a real secretive guy. I don’t feel comfortable talking much about him.”
When asked about Ergul’s role in Kanter’s life, he said: “He’s his adviser. That would be a good way to put it.” He added: “You know, that’s another thing I can’t really speak on. I just took a coaching job at Duquesne; you know how the game is, I can’t afford to say anything.”
The implication of course with those quotes is that Ergul is a shady character and one that even Kanter’s former coach wont speak about. Late last night I spoke with Rodney Crawford and he says that Thamel completely misrepresented his comments and even used quotes not made about Kanter or Ergul in the story. “Max is a great guy and Enes is a great kid,” Crawford said. “Never in a million years would I say something negative about those guys. The thing I was saying was that I dont want to speak on Max or anyone else without talking to them first. There was nothing negative about it, I just was saying he was my friend and I didnt want to talk about him to the press.” Crawford added, “he then took it and made it look negative.”
Even more upsetting however to Crawford was the second quote used by Thamel, in which he quoted Crawford as saying, “You know, that’s another thing I can’t really speak on. I just took a coaching job at Duquesne; you know how the game is, I can’t afford to say anything.”
Crawford says that while he said those words, it was about a situation completely apart from the Enes Kanter story. “He asked me about a totally different guy that I dont want to talk about and it was something that was about a completely different situation. That quote wasnt even about Max or Kanter and he [Pete Thamel] knows that.” Crawford said he was angry at the use of the quote about a different player and the out of context quotes before to somehow paint him as having negative feelings about Ergul or Kanter’s eligibility. “I know for a fact that Max is a friend to Kanter’s family and that nothing against the rules went on with them. But he didnt print any of that.”
So as with the Eric Bledsoe piece, where a Pete Thamel article came out, and later one of the main “sources” claimed to be quoted out of context, it now has happened again, but this time with a Division I college basketball Assistant Coach. One starts to see a pattern.