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Zion Williamson and LSU Coach Will Wade's Names Surface at College Hoops Corruption Trial

Zion Williamson and LSU Coach Will Wade's Names Surface at College Hoops Corruption Trial
Published On: Tue, Oct 16
Dec 14, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford cardinal guard Wade Morgan (20) passes off in front of UC Davis Aggies guard Avery Johnson (20) in the second half of their NCAA basketball game at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports. Stanford won 83-56.

If you wanted to hear the juiciest details at Tuesdaya€™s session of the ongoing federal conspiracy trial against two former Adidas executives and an aspiring player agent, you would have had to get to Courtroom 26B before the jury. For some two hours this morning, while the jury was kept from the room, the trio of defense teams attempted, largely unsuccessfully, to enter an array of new exhibits into evidence. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan denied the admission of many of those, among them two revelations likely to resonate far beyond the U.S. judicial system: that Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend was caught on a wiretap expressing a willingness to provide money and other benefits in exchange for No. 4 overall 2018 recruit Zion Williamson (who is now a freshman at Duke), and that LSU coach Will Wade was similarly recorded expressing to a middleman a willingness to a€œfunda€ another recruita€™s commitment.

Casey Donnelly, a defense attorney for former Adidas executive Jim Gatto, told the court that the government had recorded a conversation in which player liaison Christian Dawkins, when speaking to Wade, refers to a class of 2019 recruit whom a€œyou would have funded.a€ After confirming the playera€™s identity as Balsa Koprivica, Wade told Dawkins a€œtherea€™s other s--- involved in it,a€ then tells Dawkins he is shutting his door. a€œI can get you what you need,a€ Wade then continued, a€œbut it's got to work."

Later, the defense attempted to enter into the record a transcript of a recorded conversation in which then-Adidas consultant Merl Code told Townsend that Williamsona€™s father was a€œasking for opportunities from an occupational prospective. He's asking for money in the pocket. And he's asking for housing for him and the family." According to Moorea€™s reading, Townsend responded, "I've got to just try to work and figure out a way. Because if that's what it takes to get him for 10 months, we're going to have to do it some way."

It was the triala€™s first mention of Williamson, a 6a€™7a€, 285-pound forward who is among a star-studded incoming freshman class at Duke and has not otherwise been implicated in any recruiting-related wrongdoing. Koprivica, a 7-footer born in Serbia who attends Montverde Academy in Florida, is considered a four-star prospect and is reportedly being pursued by Florida State, Baylor, UCLA and USC, among others.

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