Maori Davenport set to play for Charles Henderson on Friday – ESPN

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Maori Davenport set to play for Charles Henderson on Friday – ESPN

By D’Arcy Maine | Jan 11, 2019

espnW.com

Jay Bilas says the decision to allow Maori Davenport to play is appropriate because the issue was an administrative error and Davenport is innocent.

TROY, Ala. — For the first time since Nov. 29, it’s game day for Maori Davenport.

Circuit Court Judge Sonny Reagan granted an emergency motion Friday morning filed by Mario and Tara Davenport, Maori Davenport’s parents, asking that the court review the facts surrounding their daughter’s case and restrain the Alabama High School Athletic Association from stripping Davenport of her eligibility.

Davenport then took the court Friday night for Charles Henderson’s home game against Carroll High School. She had 18 points at the half and 25 going into the final quarter with Charles Henderson holding a commanding lead. 

“It’s showtime,” Davenport said pregame when she learned of the news.

When asked for comment, the AHSAA’s attorney Jim Williams told ESPN: “We received the Court’s ruling entering a temporary restraining order this morning. We will honor and follow the Order of the Court. At the same time, we believe that the ruling by the Central Board of Control was an appropriate interpretation of the rules adopted by the schools and was applied accordingly.”

AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese ruled Davenport ineligible on Nov. 30 after learning that Davenport had deposited a check from USA Basketball in the amount of $857.20, which was sent to Davenport by mistake. Davenport had led the U.S. to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Mexico City this past August. USA Basketball routinely sends players a stipend check for lost wages, but it admits it failed to check the AHSAA rules. The association’s amateurism rules stipulate that a player can’t accept more than $250.

After initially depositing the check, Davenport repaid the $857.20 when USA Basketball discovered its error in November.

Savarese’s ruling was upheld on two appeals.

The case has drawn national attention, and Davenport has received support from Billie Jean King and Kobe Bryant, among others.

Davenport, a 6-foot-4 forward/center, is the No. 15 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 for the 2019 class and helped lead her high school team to a state championship in 2018. She has committed to play at Rutgers University next year.

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