Updated, 5:45 p.m.: Antonio Blakeney, the No. 2 player in LSU’s highly regarded freshman class, and former Tigers standout Jordan Mickey, allegedly had sexual encounters with women paid for by a former University of Louisville graduate assistant coach during recruiting visits to the school, according to an ESPN “Outside the Lines” report Tuesday.
The allegations are detailed in a book entitled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” co-written by Katina Powell, who told ESPN she provided women for Louisville recruits in exchange for a total of $10,000 in payments.
In the book, tells of about 21 recruiting “parties” with strippers and sex from 2010-2014 inside Billy Minardi Hall, an on-campus Louisville dorm for athletes and other students named for the late brother-in-law of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
Powell gives an extensive interview with ESPN for its story and supplied information such as text messages and phone records. She said Blakeney and Mickey were among five named recruits who had sex with women at the recruiting parties.
Those messages include a conversation between Blakeney and one of Powell’s daughters.
Blakeney is the second-highest rated member of LSU’s freshman class, behind only consensus No. 1 prospect Ben Simmons.
A Yahoo! Sports report on the scandal was published earlier this month. In that report, Blakeney is said to have been interviewed by NCAA investigators looking into the allegations, but Blakeney’s eligibility at LSU is not believed to be in jeopardy.
LSU coach Johnny Jones and athletic director Joe Alleva declined comment on the report Tuesday, as did Mickey’s father, James Wright.
Jones, Simmons and senior Keith Hornsby are scheduled to appear at Southeastern Conference basketball media days Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The ESPN report focuses on a particular alleged sexual encounter involving Blakeney.
According to ESPN, then Louisville graduate assistant coach Andre McGee texted Powell on July 23, 2014, giving her the address of an Embassy Suites hotel in Louisville where Powell said she and her youngest daughter were sent to meet Blakeney and an unnamed guardian.
Powell said McGee told her of Blakeney, “This guy is No. 1 in the world, we need him, have to have him. You do whatever you have to do to make this kid sign.”
Powell said she and her daughter, who is unnamed in the report, met Blakeney and his guardian at the hotel and implied that they had sex with them.
In August 2014, Powell’s daughter sent an Instagram photo of herself to Blakeney with a message asking him, “Hey you remember me from Louisville?? Embassy suites??” According to ESPN, Blakeney responded, “Yea I do wassup.” No further information on their conversation was reported.
Blakeney committed to Louisville in September 2014 but later decommitted and signed with LSU in April. According to 24/7 Sports, the five-star Orlando, Florida, native was rated as the nation’s No. 16 overall prospect in a composite ranking of major national recruiting services.
McGee declined to comment to ESPN, which reported he left Louisville four months before the alleged Blakeney encounter to become an assistant coach at Missouri-Kansas City.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has denied knowledge of the matter, to which Powell told ESPN, “How could he not know?”
Mickey was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection for LSU as a sophomore last season, averaging 14 points, 8.8 rebounds and an SEC-best 3.4 blocked shots per game. Mickey also led the SEC in blocks as a freshman with 106, joining Shaquille O’Neal as the only players in school history to record 100 or more blocks in a single season.
Mickey was a second-round draft pick by the Boston Celtics. No additional details of sexual encounters involving Mickey were detailed in the report.
In addition to the NCAA, the University of Louisville and law enforcement authorities in Louisville are investigating the allegations.