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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / November 17.
  • ESPN report links would-be agent Christian Dawkins to proposed payments to James Wiseman, top prospects

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Would-be agent Christian Dawkins proposed making payments to several top basketball recruits in order to steer them towards his agency, including No. 1 prospect James Wiseman, according to an ESPN report.

    Dawkins was one of three defendants found guilty Oct. 24 in federal court of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to an email obtained by ESPN, Dawkins planned payments to numerous college players and high school recruits in order to steer them to his fledgling sports agency Loyd Inc., which stood for Living Out Your Dreams.

    According to the ESPN report, Dawkins wanted to pay the 7-foot Wiseman $3,000 a month from October 2018 until October 2019, then $4,000 per month from October 2019 until April 2020. Wiseman will be eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft in June of that year.

    Wiseman is being recruited by five progams, including Kentucky and his home-state school Memphis. He has taken five official visits and may decide before the end of 2018.

    Dawkins also wanted to pay Texas point guard R.J. Hampton, one of the top recruits in the Class of 2020 who could potentially reclass to 2019, and Minneapolis point guard Jalen Suggs. Dawkins wanted to pay Hampton $4,000 a month from September 2017 through September 2018, and $5,000 a month from September 2018 to September 2020.

    “I don’t know him,” Rod Hampton told ZAGSBLOG of Dawkins.

    “I heard his name a lot, but I’ve never met him,” Rod Hampton, the player’s father, told ESPN. “I’m taking my ass to work everyday to make ends meet. I haven’t found the land of milk and honey yet, and I probably won’t find it anytime soon.”

    Larry Suggs, Jalen’s father, was not available for comment to ESPN.

    Dawkins was also linked to several current and former Kentucky and Louisville players, including current Kentucky freshman guard Ashton Hagans whom Dawkins wanted to pay $2,000 a month from October 2017 to October 2018, followed by $3,000 monthly through April 2020.

    Other former Kentucky and Louisville players Dawkins proposed paying were Louisville’s Ray Spalding and V.J. King and Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt, but ESPN reported “there is no evidence that any of the payments were actually made before (Dawkins’) arrest or that any of the players had knowledge of the pay-for-play schemes.”

    “Our university continually reviews the eligibility of all of its student-athletes,” Louisville said in a statement given to ZAGSBLOG. “We have reviewed information recently presented at the trial in New York and do not believe it affects any of our current student-athletes.  We will continue to monitor any new information that becomes available.”

    Meantime, Yahoo reported that the NCAA has been given authority by the feds to investigate schools linked to the hoops scandal. The jury found Dawkins, Adidas executive Jim Gatto and former Adidas consultant Merl Code guilty on seven counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud against so-called “victim schools” Kansas, Louisville and N.C. State.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.