Blazers' Telfair, GaTech's Hewitt dispute claims

Updated: February 10, 2005, 12:28 AM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Paul Hewitt on Wednesday disputed claims made in a book that former recruit Sebastian Telfair was offered $250,000 by a Georgia Tech supporter to sign with the Yellow Jackets.

Sebastian Telfair
Point Guard
Portland Trail Blazers
34 4.4 0.9 1.7 .357 .800

In Ian O'Connor's book "The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High Stakes Business of High School Ball," Telfair claims he was offered the money to attend a specific school.

In the book, Telfair says he was told by an unidentified man: "'If you come to this school, you'll get paid. I'm talking hundreds of thousands of dollars, $250,000.' And I was like, 'Oh yeah?'"

Telfair, now with the Portland Trail Blazers, never says in the book that the offer came from Georgia Tech. Instead, the book says "a person close to Telfair" said the offer came at a Georgia Tech game in Atlanta from a man who said he represented Tech.

Speaking before the Trail Blazers' game against the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night, Telfair denied the claim. "Georgia Tech did not recruit me and never spoke to me. That's a false statement and I have no further comment," he said.

Hewitt, Georgia Tech's coach, said Wednesday he does not believe Telfair, a former New York City prep star, attended a Georgia Tech game.

"I can't prove that conclusively, but in order for him to come to a game at the Coliseum he would have to scalp a ticket or be on our ticket list, and he was never on our ticket list," Hewitt said, noting that all home games at Alexander-Memorial Coliseum are sellouts.

Hewitt challenged O'Connor's claims when both appeared on an Atlanta sports talk radio station Wednesday morning.

"What I'm hoping to do here is just discredit the story," Hewitt told The Associated Press. "It can certainly hurt our efforts in recruiting."

O'Connor said in a telephone interview Wednesday "I did not put that in the book lightly."

O'Connor said Telfair's brother "and his lifelong best friend who now lives with him in Portland" say Telfair went to a Tech game in Atlanta.

O'Connor said he also relied on information "from someone close to Sebastian I found to be credible who has no agenda for embellishing the story."

Telfair's coach at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, told The Associated Press Telfair did not visit Georgia Tech.

"Definitely not," Morton said, added he "definitely" was made aware of Telfair's recruiting trips.

"I don't even remember Georgia Tech recruiting him that hard," Morton said, adding he remembers Telfair making "only one" recruiting trip, to Louisville.

Telfair, a guard, committed to Louisville but instead entered the NBA draft and was the 13th overall pick by Portland last June.

Hewitt said he believes the claim was made to boost sales of the book, which has not yet been released.

"I feel bad for the kid in a way because my suspicion is this was something he was asked to do to sell the book," Hewitt said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press