Arizona's Sean Miller and LSU's Will Wade will be subpoenaed in federal basketball corruption trial | Zagsblog
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Thursday / November 14.
  • Arizona’s Sean Miller and LSU’s Will Wade will be subpoenaed in federal basketball corruption trial

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Representatives of Arizona’s Sean Miller and LSU’s Will Wade have been sent notice that they will be subpoenaed in the federal basketball corruption trial that begins April 22, legal sources confirmed to ZAGSBLOG. 

    “Their representatives have been contacted and agreed to accept service of process [or] subpoenas,” one legal source said.

    The news was first reported earlier Monday by Yahoo Sports.

    Both Arizona and LSU are Nike-sponsored schools, whereas the trial in September focused on Adidas-sponsored schools Kansas, Louisville and N.C. State, among others.

    In October, a jury in New York found that  former Adidas consultant Merl Code, Adidas executive Jim Gatto and would-be sports agent Christian Dawkins committed wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud by paying families of coveted basketball prospects to get them to commit to programs sponsored by the shoe company. The sentencing date is set for March 5. Each federal charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, though the men are likely to serve between two and four years.

    Both Wade and Miller were mentioned during the trial in the fall.

    Wade was the subject of a phone call the defense tried to enter into evidence.

    On that call, Wade tells Dawkins “that he can get him what he needs, meaning money, if a high school player in Florida, Balsa Koprivica, agrees to play for LSU,” defense attorney Casey Donnelly argued.

    “We think is indicative of — we think it’s relevant to Mr. Dawkins’ intent and his belief that he was not hurting these universities, but in fact, based on his understanding of Division I coaches, was giving them what they wanted.”

    The 7-foot-1 Koprivica out of Montverde Academy in Florida ultimately committed to Florida State.

    “Certainly, I don’t want to react to what a defense attorney said yesterday,” Wade said in October, per the Daily Advertister. “I get it. And I understand the judge didn’t let it in, but what I will say is that I’m very proud of everything I’ve done as the LSU basketball coach. And I have never, ever done any business of any kind with Christian Dawkins.”

    As for Miller, ESPN reported in February 2018 that it had evidence Miller was on a federal wiretap offering $100,000 for Deandre Ayton, who played a year at Arizona before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

    ESPN later made several corrections to its story, and no proof of the charge came out during the fall trial.

    An attorney hired by Arizona to conduct an outside review, Paul Kelly, issued a statement after the ESPN report that said Ayton had “consistently and credibly” maintained that neither he nor any member of his family received money or an extra benefit that influenced his decision to attend Arizona. Miller returned to the Arizona bench March 1 after sitting out a game amid the ESPN report and defended his star player, saying the allegations hurt, among others, “Deandre Ayton and his incredible family.”

    During the fall trial, former Adidas consultant Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola testified he paid a family friend of Ayton $15,000 to pass along to Ayton’s mother, Andrea. Gassnola testified that he made the payment in the winter of 2015; he said Ayton was a junior in high school at the time.

    “I felt bad for his family and wanted to establish the relationship with his family,” Gassnola said.

    After the trial, ESPN reported that Dawkins wrote of a plan to pay New York City native Rawle Alkins and his family $50,000 while he played for Arizona last season.

    The report also linked Dawkins to Miller via phone records. Phones registered to Dawkins and Miller were connected multiple times between May 3 and July 2, 2017, ESPN reported, citing evidentiary files obtained from the federal trial..

    Michael Schachter, Gatto’s attorney, unsuccessfully tried to enter into evidence the fact that the FBI did not record a handful of calls between Miller and Dawkins, ESPN reported, even though the attorney said Miller was listed as a “target” of the FBI wiretaps.

    “There are a number of calls that occurred that the defendants had with people that are very relevant to this investigation, and for whatever reason those calls simply were not recorded at all,” Schachter told U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, according to ESPN. “We can demonstrate that. For example, there are multiple calls with one of the targets of the wiretap, a person who was mentioned in opening statement, Sean Miller, who is a coach at the University of Arizona.”

    Miller was asked about the subpoena on Tuesday and had this exchange with a reporter.

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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.