City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Damien Wilkins, Fall Guy in 1998 Local Prep Basketball Scandal, Comes Back to Town

A bunch of players wearing Washington Wizards jerseys beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 108-99, last night at Verizon Center.

Just days ago, folks were joking that Andray Blatche was going to the team's biggest star. The punch line has become reality. Blatche had 33 points on the night. Thirty-three points used to be a good month for the guy. Antawn Jamison made the Wizards box score for the last time: "DNP COACH'S DECISION" is why he sat out, officially.

More accurately, the box score could have read "DNP, FRANCHISE IMPLOSION."

As the Wizards' post-Gilbert-and-his-guns devolution continues, Damien Wilkens came off the bench for Minnesota. Wilkins played high school ball at St. John's at Prospect Hall, when the team was coached by Stu Vetter and was a national powerhouse, and Wilkins played sort of the Gilbert Arenas role in that program's dissolution, though in a lover-not-a-fighter sense.

The beginning of the end of the St. John's basketball team came when Wilkins was caught cuddling with a female student after school in violation of school rules. And though the issue of how many bases Wilkins got to with his paramour and what fluids were actually exchanged was disputed, both were immediately expelled. The, um, stiff punishment led to racially charged town hall meetings in Frederick, where mostly white locals claimed that the mostly black superstar prep players were having a negative impact on the community.

The parents of both kids involved were high profile — Wilkins' dad was Gerald Wilkins, a longtime NBA veteran, and the girl's mother was a White House correspondent for USA Today — and they filed a federal lawsuit hoping to keep their children in school. That suit, however, was thrown out.

Vetter was soon bounced from the school, too, and by the following season St. John's went from the best team in the area to a loser.

Wilkins went on to finish high school at Dr. Phillips High School, in Orlando, Fla., and played college ball at Georgia. The Timberwolves are his third NBA team since entering the league in 2004. Vetter now coaches at Montrose Christian in Rockville, where he still brings in nationally known talent and runs a prep basketball factory second to none.

But the real eye-opener is what became of Allison Mathis, the girl involved in the Damien Wilkins/St. John's debacle.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Celebrity litigation? Chris Bosh, cad? Tiger Woods, cad in recovery? Dan Snyder charges fair market value for parking?)

Turns out Mathis is still getting in trouble with basketball players. In 2008, she made ESPN's SportsCenter by going all Robin Fickerish on LeBron James from a courtside seat during a Raptors/Cavaliers game in Toronto. LeBron had 39 points on the night, with a franchise record 24 points coming in the 4th quarter to lead a Cavs' comeback. After the game, James went on camera and said the taunting from the fan, who was given scads of facetime on ESPN but identified only as Raptors' star forward "Chris Bosh's girlfriend," got him motivated to go crazy on the home team.

Last year, Bosh's girlfriend –  former Wilkins' cuddler Allison Mathis — filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court against the Raptors' star forward.

Mathis, now 29, alleged that Bosh, who hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left to give his East team the win in Sunday's NBA All-Star game in Dallas, got her pregnant as part of the 2008 All-Star game festivities in New Orleans (I'm not making this up), and then dumped her before the baby was born in Nov. 2008.

Bosh stopped paying her bills as she carried his child, the suit said, which led to her "becoming distraught, losing weight, suffering break-through bleeding, and having a constantly upset stomach." She had to move into an apartment with her mother, Deborah Mathis, the former USA writer.

More from Mathis' filing:

"By late September 2008, several utility companies were threatening to disconnectessential services – electricity, gas and water, to the home in which she was living. With her first baby on the way in just a few months, the father of her child, who was earning, upon information and belief, over One Million Dollars per month at that time, left her with no money, no housing security, no transportation, and no way to pay for pre-natal care."

The suit says Bosh first met his daughter in a D.C. hotel room on January 7, 2009, while the Raptors were here to play the Wizards.

Chevy Chase attorney Lois R. Finkelstein, representing Mathis, says that the custody issues raised in her complaint have been resolved. Disputes over child support payments and attorneys fees are now being litigated in Texas, where Bosh resides. Mathis still lives in this area.

In the suit, Mathis' lawyers got all lawyerly while defining Bosh's parental obligations, quoting a passage from "Popular Law Library Vol. 4: Torts, Damages, Domestic Relations" by Albert H. Putney:

"The duty of parents to provide for the maintenance of their children is a principle of natural law. ...By begetting them,... they have entered into a voluntary obligation to endeavor, as far as in them lies, that the life which they have bestowed shall be supported and preserved. And thus children will have the perfect right of receiving maintenance from their parents."

To that, let me add some simpler advice: "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to cuddle basketball stars."

***

Speaking of relationships in disarray:

Tiger Woods is holding his first post-wife-beating press conference tomorrow. He'll probably announce his plans. Early into Tiger's debacle, Cheap Seats Daily urged folks to bet the farm that Woods will confess to being a cad and go into cad rehab, then declare that he's skipping the Masters to work on healing his family's wounds.

He's since confessed to being a cad, and already gone into cad rehab in Mississippi.

When he announces tomorrow that he's skipping the Masters to work on healing his family's wounds, drinks are on both my readers.

***

I've given Dan Snyder a lot of nasty ink about using his parking lots to gouge fans. But he's got nothing on the folks who run Texas Tech, my alma mater.

I got a notice recently announcing that a new parkng lot had opened near Jones Stadium in Lubbock, the team's home venue. I was offered a space in that lot for next season for between $1,500 and $5,000. That's for one space. For one season. For up to $5,000!

That's more than $800 a game!

Hell, when I was there, you could probably buy a house in Lubbock for $5,000. I'm sure now you could rent a house near the stadium for the fall semester, and park and walk over.

And the Red Raiders' 2010 home schedule is lame! They're hosting Texas, SMU, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Weber State, and Houston.

$5,000 for a parking space? That's more than $830 A GAME! Counting Weber State! Seriously?

"That [$5,000 charge] is for an RV space," a guy at the school's alumni office, which is marketing the new parking lot, told me. "You should see what other places charge, like Nebraska. They really charge a lot."

Suddenly Snyder's charging $40 for a spot near that P.G. County hellhole of his doesn't seem like the gouge it once did.

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  • PuzzledByYourWriting

    Why in the world are you still writing about Damien Wilkins when he was a teenager? The man is like 30 years old. What kind of writing is this and what relevance is there to rewrite what has already been written? Please find another profession. Your attempt to "tie it all together" has failed...as you evidently did a few of your courses.

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