Five questions facing Arizona commit Jahvon Quinerly in wake of FBI investigation | Zagsblog
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Friday / August 23.
  • Five questions facing Arizona commit Jahvon Quinerly in wake of FBI investigation

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    Jahvon Quinerly, the 6-foot point guard from Hudson Catholic (N.J.) High School who committed to Arizona on Aug. 8, has been linked in various media reports to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.

    Newspapers in Arizona and New York have already mentioned Quinerly, who turns 19 in November, in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice investigation that resulted in the arrest Tuesday of four high-profile college basketball assistants, including Arizona assistant Book Richardson, and a high-ranking Adidas executive, identified as Jim Gatto.

    “How do we know it’s Quinerly?,” Arizona Daily star beat writer Bruce Pascoe wrote. “The document reported that Richardson took a total of $20,000 in bribes and gave most of it to a ‘top point guard’ who committed ‘around three days’ before Aug. 11. Quinerly, a five-star point guard, announced on ESPNU on Aug. 8 that he would play for to Arizona.”

    Here are five key questions facing Quinerly, his family and his coaches moving forward.

     

    1-WILL HE EVER BE ELIGIBLE AT ARIZONA?

    Various attorneys with expertise in the area of NCAA penalties have already chimed in on this topic with several media outlets. Here’s what they had to say.

    **Stuart Brown, an Atlanta-based attorney who has worked with schools facing NCAA issues, told the Arizona Daily Star, if it was proven a recruit took an amount ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, “there would be a substantial (period of ineligibility), which would probably be a whole season.”

    “That could mean Quinerly never wears an Arizona uniform — or plays for any other school, either,” Pascoe added.
    **Don Jackson, the Montgomery, Ala., attorney from The Sports Group, said there could be “mitigating factors” if it turns out a recruit “didn’t have knowledge of the scheme.” According to the complaint, Richardon said “Player-5’s mother had asked for money ‘because she didn’t know what I was already doing for her son.'”

    “That obviously makes it worse if they received any money but it still may not impact whether the player will be deemed ineligible,” Jackson told the Montgomery Advertiser. “If they didn’t have knowledge of the scheme and didn’t receive money, that’s a mitigating factor where they have a path to student-athlete reinstatement.

    “However, with the way that the NCAA Enforcement Staff and the Eligibility Center interprets this new definition of an agent, solicitation from a third-party source is enough for that individual student-athlete to be categorized as ineligible.”

    **Michael McCann, a sports attorney writing for Sports Illustrated, added this:

    “Instinctually, the NCAA might reason that it ought to punish those student-athletes. After all, violations occurred and the NCAA doesn’t want to be accused of overlooking punishments for some student-athletes while the NCAA punishes others. The NCAA could be depicted as hypocritical if it ignores the Justice Department’s allegations.

    “On the other hand, the NCAA’s entire system of amateurism is now under a microscope. Worse yet for the NCAA, those peering in are FBI agents and federal prosecutors….

    “The NCAA might conclude that a more sensible approach in these circumstances would be to permit [Louisville’s Brian] Bowen and other players to play—at least until the federal cases play out. The NCAA could reason that it did not uncover the wrongdoing and will withhold judgment until the court system renders a verdict.”

     

    2. COULD QUINERLY OPT TO PICK ANOTHER COLLEGE?

    Quinerly picked Arizona over several other schools, including Villanova, Seton Hall, Virginia and Stanford. It stands to reason, at this point anyway, that if he had chosen another school, he would be facing a totally different future than he is now.

    He has yet to sign a Letter of Intent with Arizona, with the early signing period set for Nov. 8-15. Technically, he could decommit from Arizona and pick another college, but everything mentioned above about eligibility concerns would still apply. And what college would want to get mixed up in that at this point?

    The Arizona Daily Star reported that “Arizona’s two other 2018 commits, forward Shareef O’Neal and guard Brandon Williams, appear on board for now.”

    Arizona head coach Sean Miller, meantime, has yet to address the scandal publicly and has cancelled at least one public appearance.

    3. COULD QUINERLY SUE ARIZONA?

    Here’s SI’s McCann on that option.

    “Yes, impacted players who lose NCAA eligibility could sue their universities. They would contend that university employees committed fraudulent acts, which in turn caused the players to lose eligibility and become implicated by a reputation-tarnishing scandal.

    “Universities are obligated to treat students in accordance with various contractual provisions, including provisions found in letters of admission, scholarship offers, codes of conduct and employee and student handbooks. If a university fails to adhere to such provisions, a student could sue the university for breach of contract. To that end, an impacted athlete might contend that he was owed certain procedural safeguards that are expressed in contracts for student-athletes.

    “This athlete might also assert that the university engaged in fraud and negligence by permitting an employee to commit crimes in ways that adversely impacted the athlete. Arguably, the university also invaded the privacy of the athlete by arranging for university employees or persons associated with the university to solicit influence from the athlete’s family members.

    “This athlete could then attempt to demonstrate damages by establishing how a lost year of basketball harms a player’s career. As another form of damages, player reputations can be badly denigrated by a corruption scandal. Indeed, any player associated with this scandal could later experience substantial difficulty in trying to land endorsement deals.

    “In response, a university-defendant would contend that such claims are speculative. It would also assert that any wrongdoing occurred while university employees acted outside of the scope of their employment. Universities also know that courts are often deferential to universities.”

     

    4. COULD QUINERLY OPT TO PURSUE A PROFESSIONAL CAREER?

    There’s no doubt that Quinerly is a talented point guard with a high basketball IQ. He will more than likely play for money in the future, but he’s not considered a one-and-done talent.

    Quinerly could opt to play professionally and then work his way into back into the NBA Draft in a couple of years. Point guards Brandon Jennings, a onetime Arizona commit who is 6-1, and Emmanuel Mudiay, an SMU commit who’s 6-5, both played professionally overseas after they faced eligibility issues, and both were taken in the NBA Draft lottery.

    “Jahvon Quinerly is an intriguing point guard prospect, but in my eyes, he’s not a one-and-done candidate,” said Evan Daniels of Scout.com. “Talented, but would need multiple years of college.”

    What if college isn’t an option going forward? Could he go pro in the 2017-18 season as a high school senior, or in 2018-19 in lieu of his freshman year of college?

    “He could probably earn a check,” Daniels added. “I can’t imagine it would be a big one.

    Added one NBA agent: “It’s so hard to say. It’s tough for rookie point guards out of college, let alone out of high school, to run a team over there [in Europe]. I’m totally guessing but it could be [he earns] $75-$100K maybe, maybe. I don’t see anyone paying big money for these guys especially after this mess.”

     

    5. WILL QUINERLY BE ELIGIBLE TO PLAY HIS SENIOR SEASON AT HUDSON CATHOLIC?

    Hudson Catholic has three high-major commits in Quinerly, small forward Louis King (Oregon) and shooting guard Luther Muhammad (Ohio State). Along with Roselle Catholic, The Patrick School and the Ranney School, the Hawks are among the favorites to win the prestigious New Jersey Tournament of Champions title. They are also slated to play in several high-profile high school events, including the City of Palms Classic in Florida and the SNY Invitational in New York.

    At this point, it remains unclear if Quinerly will be deemed ineligible to play for Hudson Catholic given the FBI probe.

    “I don’t think we know yet what these criminal cases mean for implicated players who are still in high school,” McCann, the attorney who writes for SI, told ZAGSBLOG. “A state athletic association that oversees the eligibility of an impacted player could weigh in at some point.”

    The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) has the following section in its rules:

    “Section 2. Amateur-Athlete – An amateur-athlete is one who participates in athletics solely for the physical, mental, social and educational benefits derived from such participation. The amateur-athlete treats all athletic activities in which he/she participates as an avocational endeavor. One who takes or has taken pay, or has accepted the promise of pay, in any form, for participation in athletics or has directly or indirectly used his/her athletic skill for pay in any form shall not be considered an amateur and will not be eligible for high school interscholastic athletics in the State of New Jersey.”

    Quinerly could end up playing his senior season at Hudson Catholic amid controversy. Or he could opt to remain at the school and simply train without playing on the team. Or he could transfer to a prep school or national basketball powerhouse that isn’t subject to state rules such as those listed above.

    ***

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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.