LEXINGTON, Ky - One of the University of Kentucky's all-time leading scorers in basketball was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for taking money for season tickets that he never produced.
Ed Davender pleaded guilty in Fayette Circuit Court in May in the ticket scam that may have cost victims $100,000.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael said at sentencing that he had rooted for Davender as a player but he could not give him probation.
"I hate it. I hate it. I hate it for Mr. Davender and his family," Ishmael said before sentencing.
Davender was already on probation in Fleming and Grant counties and in a diversion program in Harrison County for other convictions related to the scam.
And Davender faces another charge in Fayette County that was filed last month for allegedly accepting $4,000 from a Louisville man for nonexistent tickets to the 2010 Final Four.
"The judge was right in what he did," said Tom Gadd, who borrowed money to buy season tickets from Davender last year so his father, who was dying of cancer, could attend UK games in person for the first time. Gadd said he lost $2,300, and his father, who died in December, never got to go to a game.
Gadd said that Davender touted his status as a former UK player and lied about still being connected to the university. "This is not somebody who's going to stop. He deserves jail time," Gadd said before the sentencing.
Davender's attorney, Steve Romines of Louisville, asked the judge to give his client probation. He said Davender had paid in full the restitution in the Grant and Fleming County cases and has not missed a restitution payment in Harrison County.
Romines also said that Davender has not failed a drug test since being charged in the scam and had a job lined up. "He can't be in a penitentiary and also pay restitution," Romines said.
Assistant Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Cindy Rieker countered that Davender has been asking some of his victims for money to help pay his restitution. "He continues to take advantage of people throughout this state," she said.
Romines said after court that it was friends and former teammates who were helping his client with restitution. "I do apologize to the people that I misled," Davender said before he was sentenced. "I'm ashamed and embarrassed. ... I did have good intentions at first."
Davender played for UK from 1984 through 1988. He is 11th on UK's all-time men's scoring list, with 1,637 career points, and fourth in career steals, with 191. He was chosen in the third round of the 1988 NBA draft by the Washington Bullets, but he never played in the pro league.
The 44-year-old will be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of his sentence. He was taken into custody Friday afternoon.
A former UK teammate, Derrick Millar, also has been convicted for taking money for tickets he didn't deliver. Millar's name was spelled Miller during his playing days.
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