Imagine being told “no” as you pursue your career and when you finally get your shot, you’re told that you’ve forged a transcript . . . the only problem is that you didn’t do anything wrong, but someone still cheated for you. Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy has the story of Giovanni McLean, who was at Westchester Community College in New York when he finished his collegiate career and word began to leak that a St. John’s commit Keith Thomas was declared ineligible. But then, the worst thing that could have happened actually happened as the academic advisor asked McLean what classes he took, which he answered, and then, a second transcript appears:
“And he says, ‘Yeah,’ and he rattles off all the classes on the real transcript,” Moore told Sporting News. “So she hands him the fake transcript and says, ‘Do you recognize these classes?’ He’s looking at it and he goes, ‘No,’ and now he sees his name and his address on top. It was almost like the five stages of grieving.
“His first thing was like rage. Denial. And then it was all starting to come to him. ‘How did they do that? I can’t believe they did that! I trusted them.’ And then he started crying. He just broke down. He was like, ‘What’s my grandma going to say?’ His first instinct was: ‘They’re going to throw me out.’ He was devastated. We were in there for about two hours, and he cried for like an hour and a half of that.”
McLean’s story is one of perseverance, where he never graduated from high school but earning his GED and attending one junior college only to eventually find Westchester. School was initially a distraction as a basketball player, but at some point, McLean became deeply interested in education.
Prior to even thinking about college, McLean had to deal with the death of his father, who passed away when McLean was 14 years old. His father was a police officer in the Jamaica. McLean was a wayward soul, not finishing high school and generally floating around and playing at famous Dyckman Park where he earned the nickname, Batteries Not Included” which is his twitter handle.
Turns out that McLean’s coach at Westchester was the one changed the transcript and was indicted on 9 felony charges for forging academics. McLean did obviously take classes, but they weren’t good enough to be eligible to play and he sat out the 2014-15 season, but could remain on scholarship. In fact, after Westchester CC, McLean committed and signed with the Oklahoma Sooners, but the same issues that he he had in qualifying for Quinnipiac. McLean eventually graduated from Quinnpiac this spring and now he’s here at Texas Tech for one final year. But it that same perseverance that McLean exhibited that he appreciated in Quinnipiac.
“But would I really have been there, if this would have happened at Oklahoma?” McLean said. “I’m glad I came here. This is the best decision I ever made, to come to Quinnipiac. The relentlessness they showed, trying to keep me here, was unbelievable.”
Prior to Chris Beard’s arrival, Tubby Smith did not recruit graduate transfers. He just stayed away from them all-together and I’m not sure as to the reason. I don’t know what McLean’s impact will be while he’s at Texas Tech, but it would seem that he could provide more than the 13 points, nearly 5 rebounds and 3 assists a game.