The Dagger - NCAAB

Pardon the proser-on-proser crime that's about to go down, but I have to say: There aren't many more ways to botch source-based journalism than what the Chicago Sun-Times' Michael O'Brien did Wednesday afternoon.

O'Brien reported that a "reliable source" indicated to him that highly touted 2011 recruit Anthony Davis had picked to attend Kentucky — and accepted $200,000 for doing so.

Rumors that Davis’ commitment is for sale have surfaced since he cut his list of schools down about a month ago.

“There is all kinds of speculation and innuendo out there in the recruiting world regarding his recruitment and if it is going to turn seedy,” recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen said. “But that’s often the route that this story takes when you see a player emerge like this. Who knows what’s true and what’s not.”

The rumors/sources that have Davis choosing Kentucky are also alleging that the commitment cost $200,000. Davis Sr. has flat out denied everything.

Why O'Brien is rightfully coming under massive fire on Twitter in the past hour is because not only did he trot out a sloppy/unfounded rumor (from one source, as opposed to the steadfast rule of a minimum of two for anything anonymous) reporting based around that 200K figure, he deeply buried the anecdote in the story.

If O'Brien was confident enough to believe Davis accepted/demanded that kind of money to play at a school, he should have led his story with it instead of putting it in the ninth graph. I mean, $200,000 to play at Kentucky? Toss out all the Calipari jokes you'd like, but a ninth-grade journalism student would understand where that information would fall in a story, and it's clear this is a gross case of irresponsible journalism.

There is the matter of Davis choosing Kentucky in the wake of his recent visit to the school. That in all likelihood could be true — and if this story ran sans any mention of money, O'Brien wouldn't be getting coal-raked right now. Many believe Davis will end up wearing Big Blue in 2011-12, but that doesn't dissolve O'Brien from sending a world of worry and unwanted, unneeded stress and attention toward Davis and his family.

As of the time of this post, O'Brien's article is still up at the Sun-Times' site. But, lest it be removed, the whole thing is screen-grabbed after the jump. Also, I have emailed O'Brien and asked him to explain the circumstances regarding the article. If he responds, I'll update this post.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The ninth paragraph about the alleged $200,000 commitment cost has since been deleted from the Chicago Sun-Times' online story.



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