USC’s Chimezie Metu, Bennie Boatwright allegedly received illegal benefits

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images /

USC Basketball stars Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright are named among the players who allegedly received illegal benefits from a sports agency linked to the FBI probe into college basketball.

If you thought the De’Anthony Melton saga was bad, hold onto your seat because it just got worse for USC Basketball.

Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports! released a bombshell report on Friday, including documents from the ASM Sports agency detailing payments to more than two dozen players. Among them are current USC starters Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright.

An expense report from February and March of 2016, when Metu and Boatwright were promising freshmen, details advances paid to figures close to the two players.

On Feb. 5, the day after Boatwright pitched in 12 points as USC bested UCLA, his father allegedly accepted an advance of $402.50 from ASM. A few days later, his name appears again along with another advance for $623.

On Mar. 2 an “adviser” to Metu allegedly accepted a $463 advance. Another undated advance of $400 was also listed.

In total, Yahoo! Sports reports that Boatwright “and/or” his father received at least $2,000 from the agency. The total alleged to have been received by Metu “and/or” Parker is $2,000.

UPDATE: USC released a statement regarding the allegations against Metu and Boatwright.

"“We just became aware of this new information through media sources, and we take these allegations very seriously. USC Athletics places the highest priority on athletic compliance, and as we have demonstrated, we do not tolerate violations of our policies or NCAA rules. We will fully cooperate with the NCAA and federal authorities as well as conduct our own investigation into these allegations.”"

It’s important to note that these allegations are unproven, but USC has been down this road before. De’Anthony Melton was the first Trojan implicated when assistant coach Tony Bland was arrested by the FBI. An investigation launched by USC determined that a family friend accepted benefits and he was suspended for the entirety of the 2017-18 season. He has since withdrawn from school to focus on his pro career.

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The future of Metu and Boatwright is less clear.

Boatwright suffered a patella injury last week and will miss the rest of the season as a result. In that sense, his eligibility question doesn’t make much of a difference for USC right now. However, the prospect of his returning for the 2018-19 season looks much more dim.

Metu is another story. As USC’s leading scorer with 15.9 points per game, the big man is key to the push for a place in the NCAA Tournament this year. His stellar 21-point performance against Colorado on Wednesday night could be his last appearance for the Trojans.

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In the grand scheme of things, Metu and Boatwright are small fish in this particular report. North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith, who now plays for the Mavericks, allegedly received more than $70,000 in loans. Washington’s Markelle Fultz, last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, allegedly received $10,000. Kyle Kuzma is alleged to have received $9,500 at Utah.