Storyline: NCAA Scandal

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1 month ago via ESPN

Federal authorities have given NCAA officials their approval to move ahead with an investigation of alleged rules violations that came to light during the first of three federal criminal trials involving pay-for-play schemes and other corruption in college basketball, ESPN has confirmed. During last month’s trials in New York, evidence and testimony were presented that alleged potential rules violations involving coaches and players at Arizona, Creighton, Kansas, Louisville, LSU, NC State, Oklahoma State, Oregon and other programs.
1 month ago via ESPN

In the email, Dawkins advised his partners that he had deals in place with three players who had recently turned pro — Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, Creighton’s Justin Patton and Xavier’s Edmond Sumner. Dawkins also listed 19 “prospective players” who were either in college or high school. Among them were Alabama’s Collin Sexton, Mississippi State’s Lamar Peters, Oregon’s Troy Brown Jr., Arizona’s Rawle Alkins, Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans, Louisville’s Ray Spalding and V.J. King, Miami’s Dewan Huell (now Hernandez), LSU’s Brandon Sampson, USC’s De’Anthony Melton, Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett and Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt.
1 month ago via ESPN

After his firing following an FBI probe at Louisville, Rick Pitino is planning to use the season to immerse himself in the NBA game and hopes to become a candidate for head-coaching openings in the spring. “I just want to be a part of an organization,” Pitino told ESPN. “I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it. “I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization. That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”
1 month ago via ESPN

Pitino resigned with the Celtics early in his fourth season in 2001 with a 102-146 record. Pitino was considered to have been overwhelmed with dual roles, which had been pro sports’ biggest coaching/executive deal to date: 10 years, $70 million contract. He resigned with nearly $30 million left on the deal. “I’m not looking for any of that (power/control) at this stage of my life,” Pitino told ESPN. “I want to develop teams and develop players and build a winner. I value analytics. I want to fit into an organization. At this stage, that’s all I’m interested in.”

Two former Adidas employees and an aspiring sports agent who were charged with fraud related to secret payments funneled to a college basketball recruit were found guilty in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday, in a case that exposed the strong influence of sneaker companies in the sport. James Gatto, Adidas’s former head of global basketball marketing; Merl Code Jr., another former Adidas employee; and an aspiring agent named Christian Dawkins were found guilty on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, after a three-week trial.

3. So far, no big-name coach has been proven to be in violation of NCAA rules. On wiretap, Dawkins and Code make it clear they don’t believe Pitino knew directly about the $100,000 scheme to pay Brian Bowen Sr. for his son to play at Louisville. It is fair in the court of public opinion to believe he should have known. “Plausible deniability,” as Code put it. There is no direct evidence, though, and it doesn’t appear any of the key participants in the deal thought he knew. Score one for Pitino.

5. Louisville remains in the most precarious position. The Cardinals were put on probation for so-called Stripper-gate on June 15, 2017. They chose not to dismiss Pitino, so he and his staff remained in place (although not the point man for the prostitutes-in-the-dorm parties, Aaron McGee). Part of the punishment was four years of probation. Just nine weeks later, Bowen Sr. testified under oath, was the payment from Johnson, the associate head coach and thus second in command of the program. That would be another major violation and falls under the repeat offender clause, which can trigger huge penalties.

Former Adidas America shoe consultant Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola’s second day of testimony in the federal trial against three men included details on how he paid those close to top basketball prospects in exchange for their commitments to schools with Adidas contracts. Deandre Ayton didn’t sign with an Adidas school, but was mentioned nonetheless. Gassnola testified Thursday in federal court that he paid a family friend of the former Arizona Wildcats standout and top NBA Draft pick $15,000 to pass along to Ayton’s mother, Andrea. Gassnola testified that he made the payment in Winter of 2015; he said Ayton was a junior in high school at the time. “I felt bad for his family and wanted to establish the relationship with his family,” Gassnola said.

Chris Forsberg: Celtics coach Brad Stevens with words of support for the way assistant coach Jerome Allen has owned his legal situation. Stevens: “When you first found out what he was accused of, disappointment in what he was accused of, disappointment in what he did. But could not admire how accountable he’s been more. He’s a great leader, he’s a great person. He’s got a great family. And he made a mistake and he owned it. You saw in that statement — the first time I read it, that was about as much as you could own something. He’s been great for us. Obviously, this didn’t happen when he was a member of the Celtics. We’ll have appropriate discipline as a group but I really believe in him and I really appreciate him. I know this has been really tough on him but, like I said, he did it and so he owned it.”

This week, in New York, federal prosecutors will try a case based on a disputed legal theory that makes it a federal crime to break NCAA rules. Two Adidas officials and an aspiring NBA agent face charges connected to accusations they brokered deals to pay the families of top recruits to steer players to Adidas-sponsored teams. The alleged transactions — $100,000 for one Louisville recruit, $90,000 for one Kansas recruit — underscore the tension at the heart of college basketball: Star players are worth far more to shoe companies, agents and schools than they are permitted to earn by the NCAA, a multibillion-dollar entity that enjoys nonprofit status. Absent historic changes to NCAA rules, according to economists who’ve studied the sport, this tension will remain, fueling a black market long after FBI agents and prosecutors in New York lose interest.

And so, this month in New York, federal prosecutors will try to convince a jury that three men should go to prison for conspiring to funnel amounts ranging from $40,000 to $100,000 to the families of college athletes, whose coaches and schools stood to rake in millions from their on-court performance. Adidas officials Gatto and Code and the former runner Dawkins face charges of wire fraud in connection with deals to steer recruits to Kansas, Louisville, Miami and N.C. State. According to the legal theory espoused by prosecutors, these payments defrauded the universities, which could have lost money and scholarships because of sanctions if the NCAA learned of the payments. Economists who have studied college sports have been sharply critical of the Justice Department’s decision to portray schools as victims.

Wealthier, veteran agents, with long rosters of star NBA clients, rarely offered cash up front, the coach said, instead offering a “finder’s fee” if the player made it to the NBA. Potential finder’s fees ranged from 10 to 30 percent of the agency’s income from the player over the course of his career. An NBA agent, who also agreed to discuss these dealings on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the offers the grass-roots coach described are standard in the basketball shadow economy.

Despite the negative press, Adidas kept sponsoring Gassnola and his team, the New England Playaz. Gassnola was protected, other Adidas grass-roots coaches believed, because of his business relationship with NBA agent Andy Miller. When asked why Adidas — and not Nike or Under Armour — is at the center of the Justice Department probe, several Adidas insiders gave a similar answer: because Miller, an agent with a reputation for flouting NCAA rules, gained powerful influence over the company’s grass roots. Miller’s clout at Adidas, company insiders said, was because of the fact he represented some of the brand’s biggest stars: Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups in the early 2000s and, in recent years, Kyle Lowry and Kristaps Porzingis.

Miller, the wealthy retired agent who personally profited from the recruiting services of Gassnola and Dawkins, declined to comment. He has not been charged with a crime, one of the many unresolved curiosities about the Justice Department investigation. This could be because Miller is secretly cooperating and providing evidence against others. Or it could be because federal prosecutors are concerned about weaknesses in their case, which is based on a controversial theory that anyone trying to pay college athletes, in violation of NCAA amateurism rules, has committed a crime.
2 months ago via ESPN

Carter and James were brought into the project by Steve Stoute, a marketing and music executive who became passionate about the stories told in the film. The film is directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who has won two Academy Awards for documentaries, and Trish Dalton. “I’ve had the idea for many years, just seeing all the outrageous things that happen in college athletics,” Stoute said. “We’re trying to give a voice to the voiceless. I got LeBron James, the most important athlete in the world, lending his voice to help expose the NCAA.”
2 months ago via ESPN

In some ways the documentary follows a worn path of unfairness and hypocrisy that infests the recruiting game and the NCAA as a whole. In other ways, the film finds new ground as it humanizes how the embattled governing body’s rules and actions affect lives after playing careers are over. “I would love to see this film play a meaningful part in forcing an overhaul of the NCAA. I hope our documentary ignites a conversation with those who can actually change the system,” Carter said. “More immediately, I hope we reach a lot of the young athletes working so hard for the NCAA machine.”

The University of Maryland on Friday released documents confirming that it has received multiple subpoenas in connection with the federal investigation of corruption in college basketball. The first subpoena specifically targets information regarding Maryland assistant coach Orlando Ranson and an unnamed player. It focuses on their relationship with agent runner Christian Dawkins, who previously has been charged in the probe. The second subpoena summoned Maryland officials to appear before a federal grand jury in New York on July 3.

Maryland released a statement regarding the subpoenas: “On March 15, 2018, and June 29, 2018, the University received grand jury subpoenas for documents related to the ongoing federal investigation of college basketball. The University complied with the subpoenas by providing responsive records. None of the responsive records shows evidence of any violations of applicable laws or NCAA bylaws by University coaches, staff or players. The University has cooperated and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing federal investigation.”

Metu’s college days weren’t without controversy. He was stripped of his captaincy and suspended for a half for punching an opponent in the groin in December. In February, he was linked to the FBI probe into bribery and corruption in college basketball. According to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports, Metu and/or his adviser, Johnnie Parker, received $2,000 from ASM Sports, an East Coast agency. Metu said he spoke to the Spurs about those potential red flags in a pre-draft interview. “It’s all behind me,” said Metu, who also received criticism from USC fans for choosing not to play with the Trojans in the National Invitational Tournament last spring to avoid injury before the draft.

Sources tell SI that in the course of conversation DeAngelo made a number of strange requests. At one point, he expressed his ambition for landing as many as 10 first round NBA draft picks. Dawkins gently explained that even the most prominent agents are especially lucky to land four or five picks in a single class. Sources tell SI that DeAngelo also forcefully suggested that LOYD funnel funds to college coaches in hopes of winning favor with NBA-bound players who were potential clients.

The fourth meeting marked the endgame. In that suite at the W, Jill revealed that she was in fact not a wealthy tech entrepreneur, but rather an undercover FBI agent. Jeff DeAngelo was not a brash New Jersey real estate magnate, but the lead investigator on the case. Dawkins was informed that his phone had been tapped for months, and hundreds of hours of wiretapped calls had been recorded. (Among the conversations, Dawkins had told the undercover agents, “You can make millions off of one kid.”) Blazer was not a benevolent, if slippery, networker. According to the charging documents, since November of 2014 he had been cooperating with federal agents in exchange for a reduced sentence in an unrelated case, and he had tipped off the FBI to Dawkins as a window into the world of college basketball corruption. On September 15, 2017, a few days prior to Dawkins’s sting, Blazer had pleaded guilty to securities fraud, aggravated identity theft, making false statements and documents and two counts of wire fraud.

While the various cases have yet to go to trial, the scandal has already endured its share of convulsive and strange twists. After allegations that Adidas brokered payments to a Louisville recruit, Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino was fired by the school in October and then promptly filed suit against the university. A full slate of college hoops stars were implicated in the scandal and accused of receiving impermissible payments, but scant few were suspended for the NCAA tournament. Andy Miller, Dawkins’s former employer, quickly renounced his NBA agent certification, but, curiously, has not yet been charged.

The FBI’s college basketball investigation appeared to possibly impact his return earlier this year. A Yahoo! Sports report released in February, citing documents obtained in the federal case, alleged Boatwright and/or his father, Bennie Sr., had accepted at least $2,000 from an aspiring agent. Metu was also linked to the report but was declared eligible by the school and continued to play for the remainder of the regular season. A school spokesman said Monday that Boatwright has remained eligible, though he did not play due to injury for the rest of the season. “Based on the available documents and multiple interviews, USC was unable to corroborate the information reported by media sources,” a school statement said. “If additional information becomes available, either through documentation or individuals willing to speak to us, we will promptly review it in coordination with the NCAA.”

Because the history has been mostly ignored, Haywood said, the NBA and NCAA keep making the same mistakes, and the FBI probe is just the natural result of those mistakes. “They have elected to omit the whole history of how this ruling came,” Haywood said. “They have taken this and decided, we won’t put a name to it, we won’t put a person to it, so it is just something out in space that happened. You can’t do anything without the history, you just can’t. By eliminating me, they get themselves — every two years, every five years, every 50 years — into the same darn thing. All they have to do and say, hey, there’s the ruling. There was a Supreme Court ruling, Haywood vs. the NBA, then you would have some history to this. Then players, coaches, they would understand what’s going on.

Haywood points out that the original founder of the NCAA, Walter Byers, tried to tear down the organization in the 1980s and 1990s, realizing that the goal of amateurism had become a sham, and it was the players who were being hurt. The fact that even the founder of the organization could not exact any changes in what he’d started should have been cause for concern long ago. “Before he died,” Haywood said, “Walter Byers was saying that it was wrong, the NCAA was wrong. The system he set up was wrong, and what he did was a very bad thing.”

Some of the big headlines in sports today press on ongoing scandals plaguing the NCAA. When asked if he thought the NBA G-League could become an alternative for young athletes not looking to play in college, Commissioner Stern was clear. “I would hope so. It’s a complete fraud the whole thing.” He continued, “I’m a harsh critic of the NCAA for taking players that they know aren’t there to learn and in many cases, don’t go to classes in their second semester. Instead they put them in online classes just to finish the year so they don’t lose their scholarships.” “So there is something very bad going on and everyone blames the NBA’s ‘one and done’ rule.” He adds, “Well the NBA doesn’t have a one and done rule; the NBA’s rules says players have to be 19; it doesn’t matter if they go to college.”

The National Basketball Players Association is investigating whether agents may have violated its regulations as it relates to the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball, the union’s general counsel confirmed. “We are actively looking into allegations about several agents,” NBPA General Counsel Gary Kohlman said. He declined further comment on the union’s inquiry. Andy Miller, who voluntarily relinquished his NBPA agent certification last year, is the one NBPA-certified agent who has been linked to the federal investigation, as the FBI raided his offices last year. Miller has not been charged, but a former employee of his agency ASM Sports, Christian Dawkins, was arrested by federal authorities last September and charged with several felonies.

It was Friday evening at The Melting Pot in Charlottesville, Virginia, just after the NBA Players Association’s Top 100 Camp broke for the night. About one mile down the road at the University of Virginia, a hand-selected group of the finest high school basketball players in America had been battling on the court. Off it, the teenagers listened to life skills lectures, courtesy of a labor union they all desperately hoped to join in a few years. At this dinner, according to expense reports and receipts that are part of evidence collected by the FBI and viewed by Yahoo Sports, were three guests of particular note: Stephen Pina, who worked as an agent for ASM Sports out of New Jersey; Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, then a 17-year-old who had just completed his junior year at Northside High School in Pinetown, North Carolina, and was in the midst of what scouts called a “standout” performance at the camp; and Eric Peartree, who was described in many media reports as Adebayo’s “mentor” or “guardian.”

Pina would later submit his expenses to ASM, including an itemized receipt, and list “Bam & Pertree(sic)” as the attendees. That doesn’t prove Adebayo or Peartree were there or that Pina picked up the full check. Maybe he lied to his bosses. Maybe they paid him their share in cash. Pina declined to answer questions from Yahoo Sports and said he would have his attorney respond to the media inquiry. Through his agent, Adebayo on Monday denied being present at a meal with Pina during the NBPA 100 camp. Attempts to reach Eric Peartree on Monday were unsuccessful.

Those documents, and the expense reports of Pina and other ASM employees, are part of the cache of evidence the FBI collected from ASM’s offices in a raid last fall during its three-year federal investigation of basketball’s black market. It led to the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York charging 10 men in a major corruption case that has rocked college athletics to its core. “The whole system is corrupt,” longtime NBA agent Keith Glass said. “It’s corruption on top of corruption.”

Ten years ago, then-prep basketball phenom Brandon Jennings decided not to take the one-and-done college route to Arizona and instead opted to play professionally in Italy for a year with a lucrative shoe contract in hand. Looking back, the eight-year NBA veteran who most recently played in China has no regrets about his move. And with the FBI now cracking down on college stars receiving extra benefits without getting paid by the NCAA, the current G League Wisconsin Herd guard believes that elite high school stars should consider playing in the G League or overseas instead of taking the one-and-done route in the “billion-dollar business” of the NCAA. “My decision was for me,” Jennings said. “I always feel bad for the kids because I always felt like the kids should get paid in college, at least something. The NCAA is a billion-dollar business. You’re telling a kid like [Oklahoma’s] Trae Young, who is killing it and you’re telling me alumni or someone else can’t take him out to a nice dinner?”

According to the source, relevant FBI wiretaps in the investigation did not begin until 2017—months after five-star recruit Deandre Ayton had already committed to Arizona in Sept. 2016. This account is consistent with reporting by Evan Daniels of 247Sports. The recruitment of Ayton, therefore, would have not been at issue in an intercepted phone call that occurred in 2017. To that end, the source told SI what Miller clarified for the first time Thursday: Ayton is not the player on whose behalf former ASM Sports employee Christian Dawkins allegedly sought a payment from Miller, and Miller never pursued or made any payments to a recruit associated with Dawkins.
9 months ago via ESPN

CH: What do you think about what’s going on with the NCAA? Kevin Durant: First off, they gotta stop publicizing how much money we make as NBA players ’cause it’s driving these parents and these kids crazy. So now they’re saying, oh, such and such just made $200 million on a five-year deal. What you think his parents now talk about? They’re not even worrying about the game no more, it’s like, “Oh yeah, you need to go get that.” You know what I’m saying? Whereas back in the day, I didn’t know what none of these dudes was making? I just wanted to be them. I just wanted to be like them on the basketball court. So that’s one thing, in my opinion — obviously it’s not gonna happen — but I think that’s one of the reasons why you’re going crazy around here with the cash …
9 months ago via ESPN

Kevin Durant: And giving power to a bunch of kids. Come on, 18, 19 years old, these kids get to dictate. … They running these shoe companies, they running these coaches, they can like, blink-of-an-eye be like, nah, I don’t want to go there, you don’t got enough money for me. When you putting that much power into a kid’s hands, for one, you manipulating them and playing with them because you got more money than them. That’s messed up to me, but at the same time, these kids out here slaving for your programs and bringing a lot of money to these schools and we had $300 scholarship checks from the school — $300 a month. When I was at Texas. I don’t know what it’s like right now, but it can’t be much more.

Former president Barack Obama shared NBA superstar LeBron James’ perspective on how to improve the NCAA, which James called “corrupt” on Tuesday in wake of multiple reports implicating major NCAA players, coaches and programs in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into illegal recruiting. Obama spoke in an an off-the-record panel at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT over the weekend, and his comments were ultimately leaked by Reason. The former president said the NBA would be smart to embrace a “‘well-structured” G-League “so that the NCAA is not serving as a farm system for the NBA with a bunch of kids who are unpaid but are under enormous financial pressure.” The former president felt that type of system “won’t solve all the problems but what it will do is reduce the hypocrisy.”

While Van Gundy pointed out the inconsistency of those who favor one-and-done, the NCAA’s legal battle to avoid paying its players brings race even further into the discussion. On multiple occasions, the NCAA has cited Vanskike v. Peters — a case in which the judge ruled that a prison inmate could not be considered an employee of the prison — in arguing why it shouldn’t have to pay student-athletes. A recent citation has come in Livers v. NCAA, a case in which former Villanova multi-sport athlete Lawrence “Poppy” Livers argues that college athletes are employees and should be paid.

You read that correctly. The NCAA cited a case in which the court refused to hear arguments about employment status because the plaintiff was a prisoner, and thus subject to forced labor as “punishment for a crime,” the sole exception to the abolition of slavery under the 13th Amendment. Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins summed up the court’s findings in Berger v. NCAA, another case in which the NCAA used the same precedent: “The Seventh Circuit’s contorted reasoning bears repeating. College athletes are similar to prisoners economically because the ‘revered tradition of amateurism’ in college spanning more than 100 years ‘defines the economic reality of the relationship between student-athletes and their schools,’ the court wrote. As with inmates, asking any questions about who benefits from their work would ‘fail to capture the true nature of their relationship.’ In other words, amateurism is as confining and defining as jail.”

“I think it has to be a collective effort between NCAA, NBA – just basketball as a whole. NCAA and amateur sports have been corrupt for so long. We all know that. Whether you get caught doing it or not, it is what it is. But that’s beside the point. I think college basketball players – college athletes, period – should be compensated. You have to think about a 16-year-old kid, 17-year-old kid going to college. Yeah, they get a free education if they get a scholarship. But how are they surviving on those campuses? A lot of them can’t afford food. They’re getting in trouble for taking $10 or $20. A friend or a family member can’t give them money. It’s so many smalls things that go along with that. I just wish and hope and pray that something happens.

While he was cleared by the FBI after its six-year investigation into Michigan booster Ed Martin and his payment of players, four Wolverines (most notably Chris Webber) were found to have received more than $600,000 combined from Martin. The sanctions that followed stained the Michigan program but changed nothing of the question that remains today: Why aren’t the players who are driving these profits paid? “It really just becomes a mockery when you hear that the players who are participating can’t profit off of their likeness, can’t get a summer job, can’t go to the pros right after high school, all of these barriers,” Rose said. “An organization like the NCAA can still be classified as a 501-C3 (nonprofit organization tax classification)? That in itself allows me to understand that there definitely needs to be change – swift, fast and in a hurry.”

“So we live in a country that has profited for hundreds of years off the labor of individuals without having to pay for it,” Rose said. “So now you come full circle. Which sports are we having this conversation (about amateurs being paid) in? In football and in basketball, predominantly black sports. We’re not having this conversation about soccer players, tennis players, about golfers (who can play professionally at younger ages). No one is in an uproar about what they’re doing as amateurs. It only takes place in those two sports because that labor is now something that people are profiting on, and they want to make sure they profit on it as long as possible.

Sexton and Carter are expected to enter the NBA after their freshman seasons and are projected lottery picks in the 2018 NBA draft. Smith, Adebayo and Fultz also left college after one season to play in the NBA. The NCAA and colleges receive billions of dollars, thanks to these college athletes playing for them with only a scholarship and a stipend as their payment. So instead of a McDonald’s All-American or Jordan Brand Classic All-Star playing the one-and-done game and going to college for a year, why not just go to the G League, where the money received from agents and endorsement deals is legal? “I think that’s part of the solution toward NCAA reform,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.

“It’s just not a sustainable way of doing business,” said Obama. “Then when everybody acts shock that some kid from extraordinarily poor circumstances who’s got 5, 10, 15 million dollars waiting for him is going to be circled by everybody in a context in which people are making billions of dollars, it’s not good.” Creating an alternative league for people eventually headed to the NBA “won’t solve all the problems but what it will do is reduce the hypocrisy” of pretending that all student-athletes are both students and athletes.

On Friday, ESPN reported that FBI wiretaps intercepted calls between Arizona head coach Sean Miller and former ASM sports associate Christian Dawkins, “in which Miller discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman DeAndre Ayton signed with the Wildcats.” During a TV report, ESPN said that the phone call took place in the spring of 2017. The network then issued a correction, stating that the phone call between Miller and Dawkins took place in the spring of 2016. ESPN then corrected its first correction, stating that the phone call between Miller and Dawkins took place in the year 2016, removing the “spring” designation. But the timeline doesn’t add up. A source told 247Sports that Dawkins (who had his phone tapped by the FBI) and Miller had calls intercepted between the timeframe of June 19 of 2017, through Sept. 25.

The email from Christian Dawkins to his boss, ASM Sports agency founder and president Andy Miller, came at 10:47 p.m. ET on July 25 of 2016. Dawkins, a young associate at ASM known for his connections and aggressiveness, sent an email nearly every day to his bosses, including Miller, with recaps of his conversations that day and a plan for the following one. Among the federal documents obtained in discovery over the years-long basketball corruption investigation is nearly 25 emails between Dawkins and Miller over two months in 2016. They double as a diary of the basketball black market. The emails, viewed this week by Yahoo Sports, illustrate how some of the country’s most prestigious programs, including Arizona, Michigan State and Indiana, attempt to get business done.

The emails show what a valuable commodity a star player can be in the recruiting world. Dawkins, 24, who has no formal college education and was in his early 20s at the time, slowly accumulated power with the Arizona staff to the point where he’s heard on federal wiretaps saying he can attend Arizona practices “like I’m on the team.” The emails illustrate how Dawkins attempted to manipulate a powerful collegiate program like Arizona and how the client recruitment dance plays out in the recruiting world.

On Aug. 29 of 2016, Dawkins writes in an email with the subject line “Morning Update” that former NBA coach and current Los Angeles Clippers executive Lawrence Frank is going to connect Pasternack with Andy Miller that week. (Andy Miller and Frank are childhood friends from New Jersey.) Dawkins writes that Pasternack recruited Markkanen: “He is saying that hes [sic] not in place with [NBA agent Dan] Fegan,” Dawkins wrote of Pasternack. “Vye, if you have to make a call to these guys the kid that they want from me is Brian Bowen.” He goes on to encourage Vye, a veteran ASM agent, to build a relationship with Markkanen’s father. “Arizona will do pretty much whatever we ask of them right now, until my kid decides on a school.”

In the same email, Dawkins summarized a meeting with Apples Jones, the mother of Kansas’ Josh Jackson and a self-styled AAU entrepreneur: “His situation is going to get done at the very end. UA is giving her 10k a month and she’s also getting paid by adidas now — so she’s plenty taken care of. She actually works all of under armours events now and talks to the parents as a “advisor”. I do think she’s honest when she says she has only spoken with (agent) Bj Armstrong at this point. After further dialog I don’t think Duffy will be in there — but you can’t count him out ever. We will have to discuss how we will handle the moms boyfriend moving forward.” (A Kansas official pointed to their statement earlier Friday).


The Los Angeles Lakers rookie, who played at the University of Utah from 2014-17, reportedly received $9,500 according to documents obtained by Yahoo! Sports. Kuzma is included on a balance sheet titled “Loan to Players” that showed accounts through the end of 2015. Kuzma’s mother, Karri, denied the report. “I never knew anything about it,” she told the Deseret News. Priority Sports, Kuzma’s current agency, was aware of the allegations but declined to discuss specifics. “We don’t have anything to say, if it’s commented on, it’ll come from him,” said a representative.

One of the Knicks’ guys in the middle, backup center Kyle O’Quinn, learned he is in the middle of the current FBI probe into of one of the worst-ever NCAA basketball scandals. O’Quinn on Friday defended himself and denied any involvement in the acceptance of an illegal loan. “I don’t know too much about the discovery. I haven’t seen too much about it,” said O’Quinn of the evidence collected by the feds in their probe of corruption in college athletics. “I got a brief preview of it when I came to practice today. … Hearing my name as part of it. I don’t think I needed a $1,800 loan within the last couple years. I’m doing OK.”

Documents and bank records obtained in discovery during the federal investigation into the underbelly of college basketball detail in meticulous fashion the expenditures of prominent former NBA agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins and his agency, ASM Sports. They include expense reports and balance sheets that list cash advances, as well as entertainment and travel expenses for high school and college prospects and their families. Yahoo Sports viewed hundreds of pages of documents from the years-long probe that had federal authorities monitoring multiple targets and intercepting more than 4,000 calls across 330 days, providing a clear-eyed view into the pervasive nature of the game’s underground economy.
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December 10, 2018 | 9:48 am EST Update
While New Orleans is trying to win enough to convince Davis to stay, the rest of the league is ruminating about what it would take to pry Davis away. Such speculation is happening constantly now, but executives around the league see virtually no chance that Davis is traded before the Pelicans can offer him that super-max extension in July. New Orleans, as it should, will do everything it can to keep Davis — and will move on from him only if it absolutely has to.
53 mins ago via ESPN
If that happens, the Pelicans will have only one logical option: to trade Davis before he leaves in free agency. The same process has played out with several others, including Leonard, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George. None of them, though, would inspire the kind of bidding war an available Davis would. “That’s what you guys do,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of the trade speculation. “You guys talk about it. He’s here. He’s playing on our team. We’re trying to win games. That’s the only thing that matters right now. “It’s not anything that I’m going to have a say-so in or anything else, so we don’t bother with it. We worry about now. We worry about winning games and putting everybody in the best position to win games.”
53 mins ago via ESPN
Interestingly, Jimmy Butler and Brown agreed in separate interviews Sunday that the Sixers’ offensive spacing is fine. Butler has flourished here since arriving Nov. 12, having scored 38 points in each of the past two outings. “I think the spacing is great,” Butler said. “I think we have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the basket. We just have to pick and choose where we’re going to be at a certain time. As long as we keep sharing the ball the way that we share the ball and guarding, I’m telling you, we’re going to win.
As for Embiid, Butler can empathize with having to adjust on the fly. “I know where his heart is, man,” Butler said. “I can feel for him. It’s new for myself. It’s new to him. It’s new to everybody. But we’re O.K. I know he wants to win. “He’s frustrated. He wanted to play (Friday and) coach didn’t let him play. We need him. He’s been doing a lot on both ends of the floor for this team. As our best player, I can understand him being frustrated. We’ll figure out ways to make sure he’s successful.”
But here they are, still together. Perhaps it’s because of Wade’s nature. Those who know him well will tell you he takes after his grandmother, who helped raise him and was extremely giving, accepting and forgiving. To be James’ friend for any length of time, maybe it requires a person whom James respects, but also someone who is willing to deal with the challenges James’ personality brings with it. Wade is one of the greatest players in NBA history; James certainly respects that. And Wade has been willing to roll with James’ changing moods and desires over the years. If Wade has ever held any grudge, it has never been apparent.
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And Lillard, 28, is something of a media chaos agent: He had the NBA watchers watching him this summer as he broke news of reporters changing jobs, reminding them — occasionally by force — that no one at this level is in the business of keeping secrets. “Nobody knew where I was getting my information from,” Lillard would recall, and the power and insider knowledge was at times intoxicating.