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Sources: Miller, Wade to be subpoenaed to testify

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Sources: Miller, Wade to be subpoenaed to testify
3:56 PM ET

  • Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer

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    • Senior college football writer
    • Author of seven books on college football
    • Graduate of the University of Georgia

Attorneys representing the two remaining defendants in a federal criminal trial involving college basketball corruption have notified representatives of Arizona’s Sean Miller and LSU’s Will Wade that the coaches will be subpoenaed to testify at the April trial in New York, sources told ESPN on Monday.

Evidence during an October criminal trial suggested Miller and Wade had relationships with Christian Dawkins, a runner for former NBA agent Andy Miller, who was attempting to launch his own management agency.

Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code face federal bribery charges in the April trial. They are accused of bribing three former assistant coaches — Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans and USC’s Tony Bland — to steer players to certain financial advisers and Dawkins’ fledgling management company once they turned pro.

Yahoo Sports first reported details about the subpoena notifications.

Richardson, Evans and Bland, who were accused of accepting as much as $22,000 in bribes from Code and Dawkins, reached plea agreements with federal prosecutors. It is unknown whether they will testify at the upcoming trial.

Defense attorneys have not yet decided whether they will subpoena other coaches, including Creighton’s Greg McDermott, sources told ESPN.

Dawkins’ attorney, Steven Haney of Detroit, told ESPN last month that he anticipated more evidence of widespread recruiting violations, some of which was captured by FBI wiretaps on Dawkins’ phone, to be revealed during the April trial.

“I believe there is conduct in this case that is not charged in the indictment and that needs to come out,” Haney said. “We want the truth to come out, and it will come out.”

An Outside the Lines analysis of Dawkins’ cellphone records from May 3, 2017, to July 2, 2017, shows there were at least 13 phone calls involving a cell number belonging to Sean Miller. The records show that each of the calls Dawkins made to or received from the number associated with Miller lasted at least five minutes.

During the October trial, Brian Bowen Sr., the father of former Louisville signee Brian Bowen II, testified that Dawkins told him that Arizona assistant coach Joe Pasternack offered $50,000 for Bowen to sign with the Wildcats. Pasternack is now the head coach at UC Santa Barbara.

Defense attorneys during the trial also suggested that Arizona offered — or was prepared to offer — $150,000 for current North Carolina player Nassir Little to sign with the Wildcats. The government and defense attorneys agreed that the money wasn’t requested on behalf of Little’s family.

ESPN reported in February 2018 that Dawkins and Miller had discussions about a $100,000 payment that ensured that star center Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft, signed with the Wildcats from the Class of 2017.

Earlier this month, Arizona initiated the process to fire men’s basketball assistant coach Mark Phelps while suspending him indefinitely, the school said in a statement.

Sources told ESPN that Phelps is accused of a violation regarding former Arizona recruit Shareef O’Neal‘s academic transcripts. O’Neal, the son of former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, was committed to the Wildcats in 2017 before signing with UCLA.

Code, Dawkins and Adidas executive James Gatto were convicted of federal fraud charges in October for funneling money from Adidas to the parents and/or guardians of high-profile recruits to steer them to sign with Adidas-sponsored schools, including Kansas, Louisville and NC State. They are scheduled for sentencing March 5.

Arizona officials have denied multiple open-records requests from ESPN for any subpoenas the university received from the federal government for information and grand jury testimony related to the investigation. They also have declined to provide Miller’s cellphone records and his correspondence with university officials. They repeatedly cited “the balancing test established by the Arizona courts to protect the best interests of the state” in their refusal to release the records.

Evidence presented by the government during the October trial revealed Dawkins also claimed to be closely associated with Rawle Alkins, who was a two-year starting guard at Arizona before turning pro after last season. He went undrafted and signed a two-way deal with the Chicago Bulls in July.

In a Sept. 5, 2017, email Dawkins sent to his business partner, Munish Sood, he detailed payments he planned to make to Alkins and his cousin, Rodney Labossiere. Labossiere, who grew up with Alkins in New York, moved to Tucson, Arizona, in September 2017, according to property records reviewed by Outside the Lines.

Dawkins wrote that he planned to pay Alkins $2,500 per month from September 2017 through April 2018 — when Alkins was still playing for Arizona — plus $30,000 in travel expenses for his family. He also wanted to give Labossiere a four-year deal to work as a manager for his sports management company.

“Rodney will get 25% of net income we generate from Rawle as well as additional players he brings in moving forward,” Dawkins wrote. “Rodney has a bonus structure in his contract as well for delivering players at [$]10,000 for a first round pick. $2,000 for a second round pick.”

Dawkins’ phone records show that there were 33 calls made to a number belonging to Labossiere from May 7, 2017, through July 2, 2017.

Dawkins also had at least three phone calls with a cellphone number belonging to Wade, each of which occurred between June 19, 2017, and June 30, 2017, after Bowen II committed to Louisville.

Wade previously told the SEC Network that he never discussed with Dawkins providing improper benefits to a player.

“What I will say is that I’m very proud of everything I’ve done as the LSU basketball coach,” Wade said. “I have never, ever done any business of any kind with Christian Dawkins.”

Casey Donnelly, one of Gatto’s attorneys, tried to introduce a wiretap recording of a call between Wade and Dawkins during the October trial. She did not provide a date of the call. According to the transcript that Donnelly read without the jury present, Dawkins called Wade and inquired about LSU’s interest in Balsa Koprivica, a 7-foot center from Montverde, Florida.

“So you said to me in Atlanta there was a 2019 kid I wanted to recruit, they can get him to LSU, you would have funded,” Dawkins told Wade, according to Donnelly. “Would you want Balsa?”

“Oh, the big kid?” Wade asked.

“Yeah,” Dawkins confirmed.

“OK. But there’s other [expletive] involved in it,” Wade said. “I have got to shut my door. … Here’s my thing: I can get you what you need, but it’s got to work.”

On June 21, 2017, Koprivica tweeted: “Blessed to say I have received an offer from LSU.”

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