BAD BOUNCE: Basketball Academy Possible Scam

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Glendon Alexander had a bright future in basketball.  He was a 1996 McDonald's All American, played for Arkansas and Oklahoma State and still holds the Texas 5-A scoring record.

"He’s the same class as Kobe Bryant," said Terry Howat, the founder of F3 Basketball, a training facility in Urbandale.

But Alexander never made it to the NBA.  Instead, he ended up playing basketball behind the walls of a federal prison where he served time for bank and wire fraud.

He was released in 2006.  Now, he's in the Des Moines area coaching a basketball prep academy.  Some including Howat are questioning Alexander's intentions.

"He's very personable, but that's part of being a con-man, right?"

Howat says Alexander reached out to him last year.  He told Howat he was moving back to Des Moines.  Howat knew all about Alexander's past but he wanted to give him a second chance.  So, he hired Alexander to coach at the F3 facility.

He also allowed Alexander to use the facility to coach his prep academy, ABCD Basketball.

"He'd be here five or six hours a day.  End of the second month, I said, 'We have to have rent.'  Well then the disappearing act."

Not only did Howat not get his rent money, he also paid a $1,600 bill at the Valley West Inn where Alexander originally housed his "ABCD Basketball Academy" players.

The players that remain in the Academy now live in a house on 26th Street near Drake University.  Spencer Vandeberg owns the home.

"I first met Glendon about six months ago, when he was interested in renting from me."

Vandeberg said Alexander seemed "like a really nice guy," until he tried to collect rent.

"Rent started slipping behind, caught back up, wrote a couple bad checks."

Alexander is also accused of writing a bad check to a church.  He purchased a van from Westminster Presbyterian for $2,000.  According to the police report, the business administrator for Westminster tried to contact Alexander by phone, email and certified mail, but again, the "disappearing act."

We had a hard time tracking him down too.  When we knocked on the door at his last known address on 64th Street, the woman, believed to be his wife, told us she'd kicked him out a month ago.

"It makes me sick," Howat told us.  He doesn't like losing money but believes the big losers in this game are those who enrolled in Alexander's prep academy.  Among them, Emmanuel Malou.  Malou, a standout forward from Australia caught the eye of Iowa State University basketball.  He's no longer being recruited, in part because Alexander failed to complete the proper paperwork.

Kelly Baker's son, Harry tells a similar story.  Baker took $4,000 out of her 401K to pay Harry's ABCD Basketball Academy tuition.

"I'm a single Mom," said Baker.  "I live pay check to pay check."

In exchange, Alexander promised tutors and Wi-Fi so Baker's son could take online classes to improve his GPA.  Alexander said a chef would prepare two meals a day.  The contract also guaranteed 20-minutes of playing time in each of the 35 to 40 scheduled games.

"There was no alarms in that house," said Baker.  "There was no hot water for two weeks, never any Wi-Fi. He had to share a role of toilet paper with another boy for two weeks."

A month into the program, Baker called a cab for her son and put him on a bus back to Ohio.  She left Alexander with these parting thoughts.

"Shame on you.  You could've turned your life around and helped these kids.  Instead, you're the same that you were in the past."

Howat believes it will all eventually catch up to Alexander.

"Karma will catch you.  It will come back to bite you."

We called and texted Alexander repeatedly.  He returned one call, during which he denied bouncing any checks.  He promised to call back to schedule an interview but we never heard from him again despite our continued attempts to reach him.

Des Moines police are still investigating the bounced check to the church and Vandeberg has filed a civil suit in an effort to collect the rent he says Alexander still owes him.


  • Co Worker

    I was amazed at the number of lies in this story. What a weak display of journalism. You have two sources, both who are mad about money. Money makes people say stupid stuff. You failed to even explain what this academy is and the fact that Iowans. let alone Des Moines kids aren’t involved prove how this is not news worthy. I am disappointed in Ch 13 and you just lost viewers. Knowing how untruthful these allegations were- makes me question any story you have done. I worked for f3 sports too and am very familiar with Terry H and Glendon A. terry H has lost 3 employees, one being glendon,and one myself, due to failure to pay us for our services. He is a horrible businessman. In fact, many of times I have been present at F3 and he is dodging people wanting paid. He owes the light people, flooring ,scoreboard, and the owner of the building. The footage you used was grown wells fargo workers who have to pay to play there on their lunch break. F3 sits empty because other AAU organizations do not want to do business with Terry. Terry is being investigated by the NCAA because of improper benefits he has given to athletes. I like how you left out the part where the bus that the church sold set on fire with the players in it a week after it had been purchased. Glendon busts his butt for those boys. He can call up any college coach in America and have a chance to get his players placed at that college. He has had over 7 guys get scholarships, which is what the whole point of the program is. He is on the phone non stop for the boys and doing video tape for them. How unappreciative some are! He has had over 25 college coaches come into Des Moines to see players. A lot of who went to F3 to see them practice and where Terry would take pictures of them and brag to people about the coaches coming in. I bet they aren’t coming now that GLendon quit messing with him lol!

    • Jim VandeBerg

      So Co Worker … you would be OK with selling a vehicle to someone and never getting paid? You would be OK, as a parent, to be promised two meals a day prepared by a chef for your child and get a case of Ramen Noodles instead? You would be OK with renting your house to someone and not getting paid? So you would be OK not getting the $425,000 in restitution that he still owes the North Dallas District Court? Just two sources of information? One is an accident … two is a trend … three is a pattern … four is a problem … do you see where this is going?

      • cornell

        You missed his ABCD prep in Rowlett Texas. My son went there and it was the same story. We called the police and local news because he abandoned the team in a motel 6 and left town. Our tuition was only $2500 but I loaned him an additional $1800 till his “funding” came through.

        Team would travel across country in a van and would have to find accommodations on their own while he stayed with families. Imagine receiving a call in the middle of the night from 10 kids driving around new York with no place to stay.

        Their rental home had no power or running water for weeks at a time and they were ultimately evicted. He lived around the corner but the team (mostly from out of state) was not allowed to stay or eat with them. Top ramon was the meal of choice and the hot plate and hotspot story was true in Rowlett also.

        There wasn’t any schooling, supervision, transportation or promised tutoring.

        We actually drove to Texas several times to check on the conditions only to hear promises of change.

        His practice of non delivery has not changed.

        Fyi we all prepaid our tuition and the program lasted maybe 6 months. Before we could find flights for all of the out of town kids we had to explain to the local police why 8 kids were crammed in a single motel room for a week.

        It was horrible

        Sorry for the rambling but as much s I try to forgive and forget hearing that other families were victims since our experience just brings up the emotions again

  • A Native American

    You whites are a funny lot as well. You do the exact same things. The pot is calling the kettle blacks.

  • Mack

    The most unfortunate thing is that everyone involved is just trying to make money. Sometimes greed can hurt no matter where you invest. I hope things work out for everyone involved. I especially hope that the players involved can eventually get a quality education and become productive citizens.

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