Alabama HS officials defend move to suspend Team USA star

Alabama high school officials are defending the season-long suspension of a top girls basketball player for money she received from USA Basketball.

Charles Henderson High School senior and Rutgers signee Maori Davenport was ruled ineligible this season on Nov. 30 after receiving an $857.20 check from USA Basketball for “lost wages.” She represented the organization in a tournament in Mexico City over the summer.

Johnny Hardin, president of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Central Board of Control, issued a statement Monday defending the decision, saying the Aug. 15 payment wasn’t reported for 91 days. Hardin says Davenport played in “several games” during that time, violating the state’s amateur rule.

The criticism of the decision has come from various corners, including NBA players, national analysts and former coaches.

Davenport’s mother, Tara, is an assistant coach for Charles Henderson.