On Wednesday at the Indiana Junior-Senior All-Star game, Indiana verbal commitment Hanner Perea made his first public comments about the ESPN investigation into the A-HOPE Foundation, the Indiana Elite summer travel program and his potential eligibility.
Perea was adamant in saying that no one involved in A-HOPE or Indiana Elite had ever tried to convince him to go to Indiana.
“People said they are trying to make me go to IU,” Perea said. “I picked IU because that’s where I feel good. I feel that I’m going to be in a nice place with good people around me. That’s why I picked IU. … They never tried to push me. The first thing they told me was I could go anywhere I want. I like IU. I’ve been around IU a lot, so that’s why I picked them.”
Perea said he was unhappy with the ESPN story, which also alleged that he could face eligibility issue for taking extra benefits, including an iPod, laptop, clothing, a cell phone and numerous plane trips home to Colombia. Mark Adams, the founder of the A-HOPE program, said earlier that the NCAA and Indiana’s compliance department were aware that Perea had received all of that. Adams said that because of the circumstances — mostly, the fact that the A-HOPE Foundation, a non-profit organization paid for the gifts — they would not be in violation of NCAA rules.
“I don’t really care because I know all of that stuff isn’t true,” Perea said. “I’m not worried about it.”