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Pete Thamel investigates a non-Kentucky story…

(h/t NY Times)

Many have wondered where exactly Pete Thamel has been over the past few weeks since taking his new job with Sports Illustrated. Where was he with the investigative report on North Carolina? Why hasn’t he been snooping around Nerlens Noel like he usually does with a top recruit headed to Kentucky? The answer seems clear now after Thamel released a story for the New York Times that, to be quite honest (and I don’t particularly enjoy giving him this kind of credit), is a must-read. Thamel took a dive into a rather untold story, especially for those not deeply entrenched in the world of the early 2000’s college basketball recruitment. Jonathon Hargett was a Top 10 recruit in the 2001 class, rated ahead of NBA guards such as Ben Gordon and T.J. Ford. Hargett had the world at the tip of his talented, tattooed (“Gifted Hands”) hands. NBA scouts and college basketball coaches knew that Hargett came from a troubled background, but saw the transcendent talent Hargett held. The tragedy of what transpired next is where the story of Hargett really unfolds. The story is bound by drugs, death, runners and $20K to attend WVU. To this day, the greats like Kevin Durant still beg the question, “whatever happened to Jonathon Hargett?” The answer, as Thamel discovered, isn’t pretty. 

Jonathon Hargett turns 30 this weekend and will spend his birthday as an inmate in a medium-security Indiana Creek correctional facility. Hargett is serving the final months of an almost 5-year sentence for drug possession with intent to sell. For a guy who once had the promise of making millions of dollars in the NBA, a future pro in the eyes of almost all who knew him– he now makes cleaning supplies in a prison-work program in hopes of securing $500 to spend on his daughters upon his release in January.

Thamel was able to outline the details of Hargett’s childhood and young adult life, all of which contributed to the destructive path he found himself going down. By the time Hargett was finishing up his high school career, he was “immune” to smoking marijuana, yet still playing at a high level. Red flags began to pop up for college coaches as Hargett’s entourage continued to grow, placing some shady and risky characters around him. By the age of 15, Hargett admitted that he had agreed to be represented by an agent.

Jonathan Hargett risked his college eligibility for a watch, a two-way beeper and a cellphone, the spoils of connections he claims he had with runners, who are intermediaries for agents and financial advisers.

Hargett recalls agreeing to be represented by an agent at 15, the year he got his girlfriend pregnant. Two years later, Hargett said, he began taking money from a man who worked for a financial adviser. Greg Holloway, the financial adviser, confirms that he gave Hargett and his mother money. A Holloway employee, Mike Anderson, ingratiated himself with Hargett by giving him a cellphone and a beeper.

“I’m in high school,” Hargett said, his eyes growing wide at the memory. “A two-way beeper? That’s big.”

Hargett’s troubled journey continued with him bouncing from school to school, including a stop at an unaccredited school among others. His checkered past didn’t hinder his recruitment entirely though, as many major schools including Arizona, Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan and LSU still showed strong interest. 

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the story comes in the form of West Virginia’s alleged willingness to pay Hargett while he attended school there. The package they offered was more enticing, even though Hargett would have preferred to play at Arizona. Hargett says that he was offered $20,000 a year to attend West Virginia, among other benefits. 

The entire article is really a must-read and can be found here.  The story of a young man with so much promise serves as a cautionary tale and is nothing short of terribly sad.

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

19 Comments for Pete Thamel investigates a non-Kentucky story…

  1. No way
    11:43 am August 19, 2012 Permalink

    Do not give thamel hits. That is blasphemy.

  2. EightLetters
    11:48 am August 19, 2012 Permalink

    Notice the poster behind Hargett?

  3. Miss Nomer
    12:14 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

  4. Usernametaken
    12:21 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    Before calling the story a must-read, remember the source. How do you know how much of it is really credible?

  5. Juan4UK
    12:35 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    He does implicate Bret Bearup.

  6. best1978
    12:40 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    Add Thamel to the list of people who took advantage of this guy for their own benefit.

  7. schwing
    1:37 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    what the eff is a two-way beeper? i’m in my 30s and have never heard of any such thing.

  8. bleedingblue
    2:42 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    After making the mistake and clicking on the link and reading it I couldn’t help and notice that UK’s very own Brett Bearup is implicated in these pay for play scenerious.

    But the article just shows the reader of how dirty some programs are like West Virginia.

    When you see certain schools all of a sudden start landing great recruits for no reason their is something behind it. No new coach, no new facilities just BAM!! great players start coming in.

    UCLA back in late 60’s comes to mind.

  9. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    2:49 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    8 – How about UCLA right now? Or better yet, N.C. State!?

  10. James K
    3:02 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    I always wondered what happened to Hargett. He had a very bad stench on him before he went to college. Sad to say that I’m not surprised by this at all. It was VERY odd that he picked WVU. Kid could really, really play.

  11. Mark Liptak
    3:25 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    All Thamel has to do now is write about 20 more non UK stories, visit a few states, harass family members and visit another country in connection with said 20 stories and we’ll consider things even.

    Mark Liptak

  12. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    3:51 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    The best part of the story?

    A BEEPER. THATS BIG. Hahahahahaha.

    Man, I’m glad those days are gone.

  13. HOO HOO
    4:36 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    Everyone with half a brain knows Cal and his home boyz do this. Wake up clowns.

  14. tulei
    5:48 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    ^ lol @ 13. even the haters read KSR.

  15. HOO HOO
    9:09 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    I also meant to say that IU is on probation for cheating and that our coach recruits more players than he has scholarships. I also meant to say I am glad we aren’t playing UK this year because they would kick our a$$ as usual. I still haven’t gotten over the 102-90 beating we took in the Georgia Dome. I am also sad because we haven’t won the championship since 1987. We aren’t really relevant anymore…today’s top recruits weren’t even born the last time we won a championship. Their parents can’t even remember that far back. Wow UK has won three NCAA championships since we won our last one. Please bring back coach Knight, maybe he could bully and choke us to another championship but instead we are stuck with Coach Clappy the Clown and his creepy tweets. Wow I am really jealous of UK.

  16. Dave in Bangkok
    10:56 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    “I’m in high school,” Hargett said, his eyes growing wide at the memory. “A two-way beeper? That’s big.”

    I was as stoopid as any other high school kid. Still, still and still…I have to ask.

    Why the f*ck is a two way beeper “big?”

    Who needed a beeper in highs school? Morons and f*ckin bigger morons. That’s about it. I didn’t want a beeper when I was finally given one. It’s like a leash. No, it’s not like a leash. It is a leash.

    Who the f*ck produces people that freakin’ stupid? Who? Who?

    I have absolutely no sympathy for this moron. None.

  17. Dave in Bangkok
    10:58 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    And he was a top 5 recruit who took a whole 20 thousand bucks. West Virginia boosters should be shot for being so cheap.

    How is anyone that stupid? I didn’t think it possible. I almost have sympathy for the guy but he seems too stupid for sympathy.

  18. Dave in Bangkok
    11:01 pm August 19, 2012 Permalink

    A must read article to wallow in human stupidity. Pete Thamel is no better than the c*ck suckin’ pieces of sh*t who took advantage of this two way beepin’ retard in the first place.

  19. Ohiocatfan
    9:43 am August 20, 2012 Permalink

    A must read Thamel article? That is kind of like saying a must eat turd just dropped from my brown eye. No such thing.