High schooler receives benefits from China

October, 1, 2010
10/01/10
12:25
PM ET
Usually, when you're talking about a high school or college player being declared ineligible, you're talking about a player who either a) couldn't get his academic stuff together or b) got some sort of illegal benefits from someone who shouldn't have been doling them out.

Usually this person is an agent. Sometimes it's a shoe rep. Less often -- to say the least -- it's a Chinese marketing company. Wait. Huh?

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chen Cai, a San Diego area prep star, received more than $30,000 in benefits "provided by sports marketers formerly involved with Nike and Chinese NBA star Yao Ming." That presents a series of obvious problems for Maranatha Christian High, where Cai averaged 25.7 points and 16.6 rebounds per game in his junior season last year. The school is forfeiting victories, and that's just a start.

It also presents problems for Cai himself. Cai is not an elite recruit -- he's not in the ESPNU 100 for 2011, for example -- but he was an enticing prospect if only for his unique skill set. Cai is a 6-foot-8 forward with touch out to 23 feet; despite his other deficiencies, he could be a productive player in the right style. That seems unlikely to happen now.

Anyway, there are no broad, sweeping statements to be made, no major morals to be learned. Except, apparently, that American agents aren't the only ones polluting the amateur game. But it's possible we knew that already.

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