Former Ballard standout and Louisville Cardinal Brandon Bender’s name has been talked about lately involving recruiting and none of it has been in a good fashion. In a recent New York Times article by Pete Thamel and ESPNs Pat Forde, Bender as well as Kenneth Caldwell have been associated with possible wrong doings in helping push players towards Central Florida.
“I’ve never told a kid where to go,” Bender tells Louisville Sports Buzz, “If he (a recruit) wants my opinion I’ll give it to him, that’s it.”
When asked about his relationship with Kenneth Caldwell and Caldwell’s possible employer ASM Sports, Bender told us he had no affiliation with the company and neither did Kenneth Caldwell.
“I met Kenneth when I was in Chicago for the roundball classic in 2001,” Bender stated, “That is it”
Current 2010 recruit Kevin Ware as well as Louisville football recruit DeMarcus Smith have been mentioned as some of the players that both Bender and Caldwell have been “influential” towards helping them choose their college to attend. When asked about Ware and his (Bender) influence towards his decision in picking Central Florida Bender told me he had never met Kevin (Ware) and had nothing to do with his decision.
“There are 19 or 20 coaches out there I would recommend a kid to go to, not just UCF.” Bender said.
Brandon went on to say that he felt coach (Donnie) Jones of Central Florida was a great man but did nothing wrong.
“Nothing illegal has happened. Good luck finding anything.” he continued to say. “No one from the NCAA has contacted me. They can if they want but they will be wasting their time.”
DeMarcus Smith, whose high scool coach Louis Dover at Louisville’s Seneca said he was “halfway waiting” for N.C.A.A. investigators to visit him.
“It’s completely ridiculous,” Dover said. “The whole situation is disgusting.”
Bender was present at Smith’s press conference but said he was there to support his cousin, a wide receiver on the team and nothing more.
“I had nothing to do with where he decided to go.” Bender told me. “Just cause I am in the room people start talking.”
There is many rumors throughout the city of Brandon animosity towards University of Louisville and coach Rick Pitino. Brandon says he does hold no ill will towards despite when asked whether he would recommend a kid to attend Louisville Bender said “Louisville is not a school I would recommend to anyone.”
Brandon is currently working with AAU teams and does want to be a college coach when it is all said and done.