NORMAN — By John Shinn
Former Oklahoma basketball player Tiny Gallon’s decision to enter the NBA draft after his freshman season raised some eyebrows. He admitted to a New York-based NBA reporter/blogger Thursday the biggest reason he left OU was the investigation into his receiving $3,000 from a financial adviser.
“Basically, that was the reason,” Gallon said in an interview with zagsblog.com. “We still haven’t gotten an answer from the NCAA so [OU coach] Jeff Capel and my mother talked about it. He was like, ‘He might as well come out.’ They’re going to wait this long, because they [the NCAA] were supposed to get back to me in a week, but it was, like, two months. So we just came out and that was my decision.”
NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn issued a statement Friday disputing Gallon’s account.
“Mr. Gallon’s assertion that the NCAA was supposed to respond to him within a week is both inaccurate and misleading. On April 5, 2010, the NCAA requested Mr. Gallon’s cooperation in providing documents and has to date received no response. The NCAA continues to work cooperatively with the University of Oklahoma to try to bring resolution to this matter.”
OU announced Gallon had decided to leave school April 20. The investigation into whether the money he and his mother, Sylvia Wright, received from Florida-based financial adviser Jeffrey Hausinger was an illegal benefit continues.
A review of former OU assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro showed Hausinger and the former Sooner assistant made contact at least 66 times between May of 2009 and March of this year.
Gallon said his mother did receive a $3,000 loan from Hausinger. The money was used to pay his tuition at his prep school, Oak Hill Academy, in Mouth of Wilson, Va. Until the bill was settled, the school would not release Gallon’s transcripts to OU and he could not enroll in school.
“It wasn’t an agent, it was a financial adviser,” Gallon said. “She got the money from him, got my transcript out of Oak Hill Academy. I got a single mother. When she got the money, she paid the financial adviser back through my freshmen year.”
Oak Hill president Dr. Michael Groves confirmed to the blog that the school did receive payment.
Gallon also alleged that Hausinger approached TMZ.com with the story after he fired was from Merrill Lynch soon after TMZ.com broke the story that Hausinger had wired $3,000 to an account jointly held by Gallon and Wright.
TMZ.com posted the story March 18 and quoted Hausinger as saying: “I don’t think I want to talk to you.”
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Hausinger resigned from Merrill Lynch on March 26.