The enigmatic William Wesley (above, right) has been the subject of numerous entries by True Hoop’s Henry Abbott, but it took Final Four Weekend and Pete Thamel to bring his curious rise to prominence (would you have thought being Rick Mahorn’s buddy was a sufficient launching pad to greater influence?) to readers of the New York Times.
What does Wesley do? How does he make his money? How did he become so influential? The questions are often greeted with more questions.
œWhether college, professional or youth basketball, shoe companies or media, U.S. or international, I would guess that Wes is as connected as any individual that I™ve observed, said Jim Delany, the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference. œThat said, I still don™t know much about him.
Delany, who is considered one of the most powerful people in college sports, told Wesley he would love to have him help Big Ten programs recruit players if he knew for sure that what Wesley was doing was allowed.
œIs he or is he not subject to the rules that limit a representative of the school? said Delany, a former N.C.A.A. investigator. œThat™s a fundamental question. It™s a very difficult issue.
LuAnn Humphrey of the National Collegiate Athletic Association enforcement staff has been asking college coaches and administrators about Wesley™s role in recruiting for months. Myles Brand, the N.C.A.A.™s president, said: œAm I concerned about people who have an influence on basketball that one might not consider healthy, leaving aside this one individual? You bet, all the time.
Wesley is tough to read. His official job is as a mortgage broker with Greentree Mortgage, with athletes as his primary clients, but he has branched out far beyond housing. Wesley rarely does interviews. But he spoke by phone a dozen times and met in person with a New York Times reporter for about three hours in San Antonio this week. Most conversations began with, œAre we off the record?
œIf someone brought him in for show and tell, I™m not quite sure what Wes would present, Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun said. œIt was easy to identify Sonny Vaccaro because of Nike and later Adidas. It was easy to identify David Falk because of the players he represented. It™s difficult to identify Wes, but in some ways he™s a power broker of the same scale.
œI don™t have any clue what he does or how financially he benefits from this, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim said. œI don™t know. But he™s just there. He™s around. He knows all the pro guys, their agents, the sneaker people, the coaches, general managers, media people. There™s no one he doesn™t know.