The story behind why Therence Mayimba never played at George Mason

Mayimba sideline 1Many George Mason fans, including myself, were very excited when news broke that Therence Mayimba had committed to the program back in 2013. It appeared to be a big catch for Paul Hewitt and a player that could contribute right away on both ends. But Mayimba never saw the court and was sidelined behind eligibility issues with the NCAA. Mayimba came to the U.S. from Gabon as a teenager and unfortunately this issue is something that is not uncommon for foreign players from Africa. I was always told by the previous coaching staff that they were waiting on paperwork from his home country to clear and that the NCAA was just dragging their feet. Apparently that wasn’t the whole story.

Just last month Fan Rag Sports did a big article on the eligibility issues with the NCAA and African players and we get a lot more insight on what exactly happened with Mayimba. Hewitt and his staff complain that the NCAA kept “moving the target” and they kept making the issue about something else even after they proved Mayimba’s good grades and proved birth documents.

mayimbaBut apparently the real sticking point for the NCAA was Mayimba lying about his age on a dating website when he was 16 years old. No, I’m not kidding. From the article:

According to former Mason employees, once the school was able to establish amateurism, the NCAA moved on to an issue with Mayimba’s age. His official documents, including his birth certificate and passport, indicated he was 18 years old and therefore eligible to play at George Mason. However, Hewitt and Mayimba said the player signed up for an online dating site when Mayimba was 16. To be accepted for the service, Mayimba stated he was 18 at the time, which the NCAA accepted as proof Mayimba was actually 20 when he intended to enroll at George Mason.

“Literally the smoking gun, if you will, was the dating website,” Hewitt said. “Therence had logged into that and said he was 18 years old when he was actually 16 years old. All his official documentation was verified by all the necessary agencies, yet the NCAA rejects it.”

Well that is the most NCAA thing ever right there. The article continues to show other examples of how the NCAA will treat some demographic areas unfavorably and do whatever they can to prevent those players from playing. This is nothing new for anyone who has been following college basketball over the years but it’s very unfortunate we never got to see Mayimba play at all. Especially for such a dumb reason after Mason tried hard to get him on the court and he did have good grades in America.

 [Photo by Bill Bride]

  • Gamoo79

    Official records: 16
    Dating website:18
    NCAA: Must be 20
    Sad, but unsurprising.

  • Chris Hirsch

    It’s a shame we never got a chance to see how Paul Blewitt would have coached him down.

  • mkaufman1

    Let’s just say there were many hands involved- and this is one interpretation. Keep in mind they interviewed Hewitt for info.

    • Gunston98

      Hewitt’s always quick to blame others and he’s been open to the media before about certain things he doesn’t like that the NCAA does. I still put blame on Hewitt for wasting some much time on a kid that he had to have known was a long shot to getting eligibility.

      • dsnjd1

        Hewitt had a reputation to maintain….that of a great recruiter . All he did is cement his reputation as a “program destroyer” I often wonder how bad it would have gotten if Blewitt would have been allowed to finish his contract? And what would have happened if he had actually won the CIT? (Which any competent coach would have done,) Would Mason of given him another year? Probably.

  • TwoFootTackle

    What if he had joined the team and made them just good enough to save Hewitt’s job? Maybe we dodged a bullet.

    • mkaufman1

      if you think about it, you may realize why Hewitt played victim with this story for that exact reason.

    • gmusigs

      No way he would have saved Hewitt’s job but he would have been a solid, athletic defender on the wing that maybe Paulsen could have convinced to stay and work with.

  • Days of Yates

    I guess I’d fail the NCAA test too because I once drank a beer before I was 18.

  • fighterflea

    Shame he didn’t enroll at Kentucky where he could apply one week, get accepted the next, sit on the hoops bench the next then apply for the draft like Diallo. Or apply to North Carolina, take mock courses for jocks on a regular basis and take the student out of student-athlete. The NCAA under Mark Emmert and Oliver Luck is a joke. How these guys can look at themselves in a mirror is beyond … well, everyone. No talent, no character guys enforcing rules for an ‘amateur organization.’

    • Roma Oloa

      la traduction en français ?