A former sports agent says he provided payments to a basketball star while the player competed in high school and for UCLA.
Noah Lookofsky said Tyler Honeycutt and Honeycutt's mother, Lisa Stazel, were given money to cover rent, travel and the down payment on a car as the agent tried to coax them toward a representation agreement.
Lookofsky said during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon that he had documentation proving he invested more than $55,000 in Honeycutt, but that "the true number is actually north of $100,000." He explained the discrepancy by saying he didn't keep track of his expenditures until he began hearing rumors Honeycutt might sign with another agent.
Lookofsky said that he was willing to produce receipts, deposit slips, promissory notes, email exchanges and one deposited check, but that he was unable to do so immediately because they were stored at a location other than his home. He spoke to The Times about Honeycutt after the story was first reported by SBNation.com, to which he provided documents.
Honeycutt graduated from Sylmar High in 2009 and played two seasons for UCLA. Lookofsky said their relationship ended in 2011, when Honeycutt signed with another agent after making himself eligible for the NBA draft.
Honeycutt was chosen by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the draft and played in 24 games over two NBA seasons. He now plays for Ironi Nes Ziona in the Israeli Super League. Neither he nor Stazel responded to email requests for comment.
Under NCAA rules, a player is ineligible if he accepts benefits from an agent.
After Honeycutt allegedly spurned him, Lookofsky contacted former UCLA coach Ben Howland and asked him to intercede on his behalf as he tried to recover money from Honeycutt, the ex-agent said. Howland declined and alerted UCLA officials, who took the allegations to the NCAA.
In a statement released Wednesday, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero acknowledged the university contacted the NCAA in 2011 and again about three weeks ago after learning about the upcoming SBNation story.
Lookofsky declined to talk with NCAA investigators in 2011 and the case was closed, Guerrero said, "with no finding against the institution or any individual."
At the time, Lookofsky was still an agent. However, he stopped representing athletes last year. He said he was coming forward now because he wants to change the system in which agents seek clients. "I doubt I could find an agent who has never paid a client," he added.
Lookofsky said he might speak with NCAA investigators this time but would "wait and see how this turns out."
He said he met Honeycutt and Stazel at a party he hosted in 2008. Another client, whom he wouldn't name, suggested he talk with Honeycutt, Lookofsky said.
"I kind of knew who he was from the basketball scene," said Lookofsky, who was then the president of the agency All Pro Sports. "My client said it looked like the family needed help. Tyler's mom had lost her job and needed rent money. As the party died down, we pulled up chairs around a table outside and started talking."
Lookofsky said that Stazel hinted she was looking for financial help. "It was wink, wink, we know how it is done," he said.
The financial support started with rent money and grew from there, he said. Lookofsky said he paid rent for Stazel and also for Honeycutt when the player lived in an apartment near UCLA. Lookofsky said he paid for Stazel to travel to UCLA games and provided the down payment for Honeycutt's car, among other expenses.
Lookofsky said he attended UCLA games as a spectator but never talked with Honeycutt before or after the games and had no contact with anyone from UCLA until he approached Howland.
Lookofsky said Honeycutt initially agreed to pay back some money but never did. Lookofsky said he also contacted the new agent hoping to be reimbursed.
That didn't go well.
Said Lookofsky: "The general overall conversation was, 'Suck it up and get over yourself.'"
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