Alabama judge orders reinstatement of Maori Davenport
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama judge on Friday temporarily reinstated the eligibility of prep basketball player Maori Davenport who had been suspended over what her parents described as a mistake payment from US Basketball.
Pike County Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan issued an order stopping the Alabama High School Athletic Association from disqualifying Davenport until the court rules on a complaint filed by the teen’s parents. It is unclear when the court will rule on the complaint.
Davenport, a senior at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, Alabama, and a Rutgers signee, had been ruled ineligible for her final season by state high school officials after receiving an $857.20 check from USA Basketball, which has been repaid.
Davenport returned to the court Friday night, scoring 25 points in Charles Henderson’s victory over Carroll.
Jim Williams, an attorney representing the Alabama High School Athletic Association, issued a statement saying the organization will honor and follow the court’s order, although it believes the initial decision was an ‘‘appropriate interpretation of the rules adopted by the schools and was applied accordingly.’’
Her parents, in the injunction request filed Friday, said the payment was sent as a mistake by USA Basketball, which normally uses college players. The family said they sent the payment back within 48 hours.
The 6-foot-4-inch Davenport told the Associated Press earlier this week she doesn’t believe she did anything wrong.
‘‘I hope to play again this year, but if I don’t get to play again, I just want them to help this not happen to any other student-athlete in Alabama,’’ said Davenport, who has signed to play college basketball at Rutgers.
USA Basketball gave Davenport the check for ‘‘lost wages’’ after she played for the team in a tournament last summer, inadvertently running afoul of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s amateur rule.
She has received an outpouring of support from around the country, including from Golden State Warriors center Demarcus Cousins and Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer.
‘‘It just makes me feel like the world has my back in this situation, so I'm not wrong,’’ Davenport said.