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Breaking down Yahoo’s FBI story involving Nerlens, Bam, and Knox

Breaking down Yahoo’s FBI story involving Nerlens, Bam, and Knox

Waking up to the news that three Kentucky players were listed in documents obtained by the FBI was jarring to say the least, but after a deep breath and an hour to digest the story, I’m not nearly as panicked as I was when my phone went off this morning. Let’s break down the facts of what has been released and what to focus on going forward.

The facts

Nerlens Noel, Bam Adebayo, and Kevin Knox are all listed on financial documents from ASM Sports (Andy Miller’s agency).

  • Nerlens, who briefly employed Miller as his agent,  is listed as taking a $4,350 loan
  • Bam is listed as taking a $12,500 loan, but did not sign with ASM. In a separate document, he is listed as being a “bad loan” with a $36,500 monetary amount.
  • Kevin Knox is one of several players listed on an expense report as meeting or having a meal with former ASM associate Christian Dawkins.

The immediate concern is Knox

It’s important to point out that players are allowed to meet with agents; however, they are not allowed to accept money from them or have those agents pay for their meals. Yahoo did not post the actual expense report from Dawkins listing Knox, so it’s unclear who paid. If Knox did let Dawkins buy him a meal, it’s a violation and he could repay it and regain his eligibility; however, no one knows how the NCAA will handle any of this. Also, did UK already know about this, and if so, did they disclose it to the NCAA before the season began?

The big question now becomes…

Will Knox play tomorrow?

If he does, UK must be confident everything checks out. If not, there may be something there.

Bam’s involvement is by far the worst

According to these documents, Bam accepted either $12,500 or $36,500 from ASM, which was by their description a “bad loan” because he didn’t sign with the agency. Obviously, this is a way bigger deal than Knox having a meal with Christian Dawkins. The timeline becomes very important here. Bam’s $12,500 loan is listed on a balance sheet from December 31, 2015, so after he signed Kentucky (November 18, 2015). Did the payments come before or after that? If after, maybe it’s a good thing Luke Maye hit that shot.

Nerlens’ loan is the least of our worries

Nerlens was also listed on the December 31, 2015 balance sheet as taking a $4,350 loan from ASM, but Miller was his agent from June 2013 – December 2016. A professional player taking a loan from his agent is the least of Kentucky’ worries right now.

A rundown of players from other major programs

It’s definitely not just Kentucky:

  • Dennis Smith, NC State – $43,500 loan, total of $73,500
  • Markelle Fultz, Washington, $10,000 loan
  • Miles Bridges – no specific amount, but per expense reports, “hundreds of dollars in advances”
  • PJ Dozier, South Carolina – at least $6,115
  • Josh Jackson, Kansas – $2,700
  • Wendell Carter, Duke – Met or had meals with Dawkins
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama – Met or had meals with Dawkins
  • Tony Bradley, North Carolina – Met or had meals with Dawkins

There are so many more.

No players from the 2011, 2012, 2014, or 2015 teams are listed

Which means for now, the banners are safe.

John Calipari is scheduled to talk to the media today

Calipari was scheduled to meet with reporters at 2:15 p.m. to preview tomorrow’s game vs. Missouri. That has yet to be confirmed this morning, but knowing Cal, I expect it will. Select players were scheduled to meet with the media at 1:45 p.m., but given this morning’s news, I doubt that happens.

UPDATE: John Calipari will address the media at 2:45 p.m. As expected, players will not be available for interviews.


FBI wiretaps show Arizona’s Sean Miller discussing $100K payment for DeAndre Ayton

Remember when Kentucky fans complained for months about John Calipari not recruiting No. 1 prospect DeAndre Ayton hard enough?

Now we know why.

According to ESPN sources, Arizona head coach Sean Miller held phone conversations with Christian Dawkins about a $100,000 payment to “ensure” Ayton ended up at Arizona.

FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone conversations between Arizona coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, a key figure in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption, in which Miller discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats, sources familiar with the government’s evidence told ESPN.

ESPN reports the Miller-Dawkins phone call was just one of over 3,000 hours of conversations on Dawkins’ phone alone, meaning this is likely just scratching the surface on what else is out there.

With this news, it’s almost a certainty Ayton will be declared ineligible, this season will be vacated for the Wildcats, and Sean Miller very may well be fired.

We’re just getting started, folks…


What Friday’s Yahoo report means for the past, present and future of college basketball

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 12 hours (in which case, I’m impressed that your first stop would be this website) you’re probably aware that Yahoo Sports released a “bombshell” report on Friday morning (and I’ll explain later why I put the word “bombshell” in quotes). The report directly implicated some of the biggest coaches, players and programs in college basketball and showed direct ties to agent Andy Miller and a runner who worked for him named Christian Dawkins. The ties came through, what amounted to an invoice submitted by Dawkins that showed that he paid anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to 10’s of thousands of dollars (and sometimes more) to some of the biggest name basketball prospects in the sport, players who eventually went on to big-time college programs.

For those who haven’t seen those names, it includes lottery picks from last year’s draft like Dennis Smith Jr., Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson and Bam Adebayo, as well as current stars like Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Kentucky’s Kevin Knox, Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Duke’s Wendell Carter.

So when you hear the term “extra benefits” and schools like Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and others, you know it’s a big deal. The question is: How big?

Ultimately that’s the question today, and I’ll do my best to answer here for everyone. Because ultimately this is a story with multiple layers, I broke the article down into multiple parts, discussing what happens this year with past NCAA Tournaments and the future of college hoops.

Here is everything you need to know about today’s news and what it all means in the bigger picture.
(more…)


Basketball IQ isn’t this team’s problem, says Calipari

Kentucky fans are quick to point to basketball IQ as one of this team’s weaknesses, but John Calipari doesn’t think that is the case.

I don’t think the issue has been basketball IQ,” he said Friday. “I think the issue has been they didn’t realize until two weeks ago how bad they needed each other.”

There’s that trust issue he’s been preaching again, and he obviously would know more than you or me.

“The second thing is they’re still trying to figure out who they are,” he continued. “Then we add Jarred midseason. I mean, that all comes together and we look confused sometimes out there on the court, which would make you to believe, ‘Man, their IQ –.’ It’s not, they’ve got a good basketball IQ, they have a good feel for the game, but again, we’ve had to make adjustments. I’ve had to really set into rules of how we’re playing, roles for guys, but they’ve gotten better.”

Whoa… A good basketball IQ? It’s one thing to say IQ isn’t the problem; it’s another to say it’s good. But again, what do I know? Cal has forgotten more about basketball than I’ve ever known.

Chime in with your thoughts on this team’s basketball IQ.


Kentucky giving up six points to Mizzou

Denny Medley | USA Today

Las Vegas released its line for the Kentucky-Missouri game and it has the Cats as six-point favorites over the visiting Tigers.

Kentucky is on a roll with two covers in its last two games, while Mizzou has failed to cover in each of its last two, losing outright in games against LSU and Ole Miss. Mizzou won the first meeting with UK, 69-60, in Columbia.

Don’t gamble, friends. Matt Bevin said it’s bad.


Everything Calipari said and didn’t say about the Yahoo report

Everything Calipari said and didn’t say about the Yahoo report

Everyone tuned into John Calipari’s press conference hoping he would say something about the Yahoo Sports report that dropped this morning, but with the help of Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy, Cal stuck to the script. Peevy prefaced the media opportunity — held every day before a game — by saying that the school has no additional information regarding the report other than the statements they released this morning. As you might imagine, that didn’t stop reporters from trying. 

Here’s a transcript of the first few minutes, followed by a video:

Peevy: “Coach Calipari is here today to talk about tomorrow’s game vs. Missouri. If you don’t have any questions about that, we can let him go to practice. Once again, we don’t have any additional information other than what we provided to you earlier in the statement. We’ll make Coach Calipari available for you now.”

Kyle Tucker: “Is there anything you can say about the story, your reaction?”

Calipari: “I know nothing more than what you guys know and that’s why there is no reason for me to speak on it. You guys know what I know.”

Reporter: “Is there any concern about eligibility?”

Calipari: “Not –“

Peevy: “As I said, we have no additional information other than what we shared. If we have anything more, we’ll make sure we communicate that to you.”

Alan Cutler: “Cal, without saying what you can’t say — [Cal looks at Peevy] Hang on, just give me a second.”

Calipari: “Go ahead, go ahead. Run me down. Go ahead.”  [If you didn’t catch that, it was a reference to Cutler chasing down Billy Gillispie]

Cutler: “Without saying what you can’t say, just emotionally speaking, you have to be disappointed with this crap coming out.”

Calipari: “I mean, yeah. For all of basketball, this stuff. Yeah. But again, the statement I made is from me, where we stand on this and how I feel about it.”

Reporter: “Have you had a chance to talk to Kevin about this?”

Calipari: “No.”

Peevy: “Do you have any questions about the game tomorrow, Missouri?”

Reporter: Will Kevin play tomorrow?

Calipari: “At this point, I believe so. If there’s something I don’t know” [Looks at Peevy]

Peevy: “Like I said, once again, there’s nothing additional to what you already know.”

Lyndsey Gough: “Is this a distraction for your team?”

Calipari: “I don’t even know. I haven’t met with them yet so I don’t know.”

Reporter: “When you see this kind of attention –“

Calipari: “Any Missouri questions?”

It was hard not to notice how sweaty Calipari was, to the point he brought it up himself a few minutes later.

“I just got done working out, guys. That’s why I’m sweaty.”

Watch for yourself below:


Calipari believes Kevin Knox will play tomorrow

Calipari believes Kevin Knox will play tomorrow

John Calipari and Kevin Knox have not discussed this morning’s Yahoo! report that named Knox one of the college basketball players who met with shady sports agent Christian Dawkins.

Knox’s father, Kevin Knox Sr., has since come forward to say that meeting never happened, but Calipari has not yet had that conversation with his star forward.

Kevin Knox’s father denies son met with agent

When asked if Cal expects Knox to play against Missouri, Cal simply said, “At this point, I believe so. I mean (unless) there is something I don’t know.”

Calipari also said he hasn’t met with anyone from his team today.


LIVE: John Calipari press conference

John Calipari is about to address reporters about tomorrow’s game vs. Missouri and, one would imagine, Yahoo Sports’ report from this morning alleging three former/current Kentucky players met with or accepted money from ASM Sports. Tune in below courtesy of KyWildcatsTV:


Still no word on whether Michael Porter Jr. will play tomorrow

Hey, remember that we play a game tomorrow? Yesterday, it was announced that Missouri star Michael Porter Jr. has been cleared to practice, which begged the question as to whether or not he’ll play in tomorrow night’s game vs. Kentucky. Today, Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin confirmed Porter returned to practice but didn’t say whether or not he’ll play tomorrow in Rupp.

“He will get implemented in practice today and then we’ll go one day at a time,” Martin said, via Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I don’t really have a timetable after that. It’s just one day at a time.”

When asked, Martin said he hadn’t considered whether or not he’ll let Porter dress out for tomorrow’s game, but joked that he might to “throw [Kentucky] off.”

I’ve seen this story before. He’s playing.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]


Bam Adebayo’s high school coach: “Let the truth come out”

© Brad Penner

According to documents seized by the FBI, Bam Adebayo received payments of $12,000 and $36,500 from ASM Sports. Jerry Tipton spoke to Bam’s high school coach Brandon Clifford, who spoke to the Miami Heat rookie this morning and denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.

“As far as I know, Bam has never taken a dime from anybody,” said Clifford. “He committed himself to doing things the right way.”

Clifford urged fans to “let the truth come out in due time.”

“You have a star athlete that’s 16 or 17 years old. They’re not calling the shots. Bam wouldn’t even talk to college coaches without it coming through me or his family.”

According to the Miami Heat, Bam will not comment on today’s report.

[Herald-Leader]


John Calipari will speak to the media at 2:45 p.m.

Clear your schedule for mid-afternoon because UK just confirmed that John Calipari will speak to the media at 2:45 p.m. regarding tomorrow’s game vs. Missouri, and, presumably, Yahoo Sports’ report this morning that three of his former/current players met with or accepted loans or meals from agents at ASM Sports.

While Calipari will speak, his players will not, a very smart move by Kentucky. We’ll have a live stream for you on KSR beginning at 2:40 p.m. If you missed it, Calipari, Eli Capilouto, and Mitch Barnhart have all released statement on the allegations facing the program:

John Calipari responds to Yahoo Sports’ report


Why Kevin Knox should donate $200 to charity right now

Kevin Knox was listed on financial records obtained by the FBI as meeting with or having a meal with ASM Sports agent Christian Dawkins. Knox’s father has already come out and said that meeting/meal never happened, but if it did, here’s what it could mean for Knox’s eligibility.

According to the most recent version of the NCAA Division I manual, Bylaw 16.01.1 prohibits any extra benefit; however, it stipulates that if the monetary value of that benefit (i.e., a meal) is $200 or less, the player can regain his or her eligibility by repaying the amount to the charity of their choice.

16.01.1 Eligibility Effect of Violation. [A] A student-athlete shall not receive any extra benefit. Receipt by a student-athlete of an award, benefit or expense allowance not authorized by NCAA legislation renders the student-athlete ineligible for athletics competition in the sport for which the improper award, benefit or expense was received. If the student-athlete receives an extra benefit not authorized by NCAA legislation, the individual is ineligible in all sports

16.01.1.1 Restitution for Receipt of Impermissible Benefits. Unless otherwise noted, for violations of Bylaw 16 in which the value of the benefit is $200 or less, the eligibility of the student-athlete shall not be affected conditioned upon the student-athlete repaying the value of the benefit to a charity of his or her choice. The student-athlete, however, shall remain ineligible from the time the institution has knowledge of receipt of the impermissible benefit until the student-athlete repays the benefit. For violations of Bylaw 16 in which there is no monetary value to the benefit, violations shall be considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1; however, such violations shall not affect the student-athlete’s eligibility. (Adopted: 11/1/01, Revised: 8/5/04, 1/19/18)

So…which charity will Kevin Knox be donating $200 to today? Even if he didn’t meet with Dawkins or Miller, it doesn’t hurt to pay it forward, right?

UPDATE: Just last month, the NCAA amended that rule to up the amount for $100 to $200.