The mystery man behind a fledgling professional basketball league, identified publicly for months as Cerruti Brown, admitted Wednesday night to a league executive that he actually is former college basketball standout Glendon Alexander, who has numerous criminal convictions for fraud, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported.
"I talked to him, asked him, and he admitted he was Glendon Alexander," AmeriLeague's operations manager Marcus Bass said. "He told me he was stepping away and to tell the staff that there'll be new ownership. I was in shock. I'm just hoping that all the people who have worked on this project can land on their feet."
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According to the report, late Wednesday night, after Outside the Lines began questioning current and former league officials, the AmeriLeague website prominently displayed: "Cerruti Brown is Glendon Alexander. YEAH you should google GLENDON ALEXANDER, he is a con artist." It was later removed from the site.
The league, funded by investors, has touted connections to ex-NBA players and early on offered itself, unsuccessfully, as an alternative for top high school players who aren't interested in one-and-done college careers.
Wednesday's news broke on the eve of AmeriLeague's scheduled draft Thursday in Las Vegas, Bass told Outside the Lines. Some 60 players are to be dispersed among six teams, and Bass maintains that the draft will go on despite the week's developments.
Even before the revelation of Brown's actual identity, AmeriLeague had seen turnover at the top: The league's commissioner, Ethan Norof, left after just one week in Las Vegas and didn't return. The league's president, Jonathan Jordan, left after eight days. Both expressed concerns about Brown. Also, one of the league's six coaches pulled out early this week just before boarding a flight for the start-up basketball league's hub, Las Vegas, because, according to Outside the Lines, "he had heard the rumblings."
A McDonald's All American from the Dallas area, Alexander began his college career at Arkansas before transferring to Oklahoma State after two seasons. He averaged 11.7 points per game for the Cowboys' Elite Eight team in the 2000 NCAA Tournament, but he also admitted to stealing a scholarship check from a teammate. In 2002, he was charged with stealing $150,000 in cash and jewelry from former MLB player Derek Bell and eventually built a rap sheet that included convictions for bank and wire fraud that landed him in federal prison in Texas.
According to the Dallas Morning News, after he got out of prison in 2005, he ran a prep school in Iowa, where one basketball player's parent said she pulled her son because of "substandard housing, meals and basketball training" and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in an effort to recoup some of the $4,000 she sent Alexander.
In January 2014, Alexander, then 36, told the Morning News: "All my con days, that's in the past."
By this week, it appeared the truth was closing in on Brown, although he couldn't be reached by Outside the Lines for comment Wednesday. But Brown continued to deny in a text message earlier this month that he was Glendon Alexander.
"Very wrong!" he wrote. "Your [sic] not the first person who has asked me that either."
His story finally appeared to change late Wednesday.
"The sad part of all this is, there are guys who turned down jobs and are headed to Vegas right now," said Joe Connelly, the coach who told Outside the Lines that he resigned Monday night after also fearing that Brown's identity was fraudulent. "That's the part that bothers me. He's selling people dreams."