'Will Wade. American Gangster.' trending on Twitter after latest Yahoo report | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / May 27.
  • ‘Will Wade. American Gangster.’ trending on Twitter after latest Yahoo report

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    LSU coach Will Wade is now trending on Twitter under, “Will Wade. American Gangster.”

    Jon Rothstein Tweeted the phrase Wednesday, and a day later Yahoo released its latest report linking Wade to a wiretap discussion regarding payments to a recruit with would-be-sports agent Christian Dawkins. 

    Wade refers to this “Smart thing,” would could be a reference to current LSU freshman guard Javonte Smart.

    Speaking with reporters Thursday, Wade declined comment several times and said he would have to look into the report. He said Yahoo contacted him for comment about 20 minutes before the story broke.

    On Monday in New York, Dawkins was sentenced to six months in jail after he was convicted last fall of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the Adidas trial. He and his co-defendants, Jim Gatto and Merl Code, are appealing the sentencing and won’t go to jail until the appeal is finished.

    Dawkins and Code are due back in court on federal bribery charges on April 22, and Wade and Arizona coach Sean Miller have been subpoened for that trial.

    Steve Haney, Dawkins’ attorney, said Monday that more coaches are expected to testify then.

    “As many as I can get in the courtroom,” he said when I asked how many coaches might testify. “In the second trial, we’re going to pull back the curtain.”

    Wade was also the subject of a phone call the defense tried to enter into evidence during the Adidas basketball trial. 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.”

    Koprivica is a Class of 2019 recruit from Serbia who plays at Montverde Academy and later committed to Florida State.

    Donnelly says the call starts with Dawkins telling Wade “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. Would you want Balsa?

    “Then Mr. Wade says: ‘Oh, the big kid?’ Because Balsa is a real big, tall kid. And Christian confirms. Then Coach Wade says, and excuse my language: ‘OK. But there’s other (expletive) involved in it.’ Then he says, ‘I have got to shut my door.’”

    Before Kaplan denied the call entered into evidence, Haney said: “This is evidence … where the head basketball coach — not a low-level assistant — the head basketball coach of a major university is actually talking with my client about the very things that this case is about.”

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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.