Vols basketball loses top prospect

Vols basketball loses top prospect

July 20th, 2009 by Wes Rucker in Sports - College

KNOXVILLE -- High-profile point guard prospect Josh Selby decommitted from the University of Tennessee men's basketball program this weekend, potentially leaving a large pothole in the Volunteers' 2010 signing class.

Selby, a rising senior from Baltimore ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 7 prospect, broke the news via his Facebook.com page.

"Just decommitted from Tennessee," the page stated.

Selby's old cellphone number was recently disconnected, and attempts to reach him Sunday afternoon weren't successful.

UT's heralded trio of 2010 guard commitments has dwindled from three to one. Ohio point guard Aaron Craft backed out of a previous pledge to the Vols earlier this summer and later committed to Ohio State.

Selby's mother, Maeson Witherspoon, told cbssports.com on Sunday that UT remains in the picture to sign her son.

"It's just that we only looked at one other school before we committed to Tennessee, and it was Louisville," Witherspoon told the Web site. "It was a fast decision because we were so overwhelmed with the atmosphere at Tennessee, and we just want to make sure it's right.

"Tennessee is still an option. It's up to Tennessee if they still want to recruit him. But on our list, Tennessee is still an option."

Witherspoon confirmed to CBS that she and Selby recently met controversial basketball personality William Wesley -- or "Worldwide Wes" -- at a Lebron James Skills Academy event in Ohio, but she denied accusations that the conversation led to her son's decommitment. Rumors about Selby's college future have circulated since that weekend, but the player never publicly wavered from the Vols until his weekend Facebook post.

"People can say whatever they want to say, but I'm solid (to Tennessee)," Selby said this spring.

Wesley, a controversial figure whose basketball relationships cast a wide net from the NBA to amateur levels, is a close friend of Kentucky's John Calipari and several other coaches associated with Nike. UT, meanwhile, has a department-wide contract with adidas.

"I met Wes, but we really didn't talk," Witherspoon told CBS. "That's not a connection like everybody thinks."

Wesley -- who consistently denies media interview requests -- is a ubiquitous, courtside presence at prominent basketball games, but his high-profile friends don't discuss his official occupation. His past jobs have included player promoter, mortgage broker and shoe salesman.

The NCAA has made multiple inquiries into Wesley's relationship with amateur basketball players, but the organization has never publicly charged him with wrongdoing.

Selby's family hasn't specified schools on his newly-reopened recruiting list, but several sources close to the player's recruitment mentioned Kentucky, Memphis and neighbor Oregon as contenders.

UT coach Bruce Pearl is in Israel coaching Team USA in the Maccabiah Games, but college coaches aren't allowed to comment on unsigned prospects.