NEW YORK (AP) – A New York City jury is done hearing testimony at a federal trial about secret payments in college basketball.
Prosecutors have accused a former Adidas executive and two other defendants of conspiring to funnel funds to the families of prized prospects to get them to commit to programs sponsored by the sneaker company. They’ve all pleaded not guilty.
Government evidence on Tuesday focused a flurry of texts and phone calls last year about prospect Brian Bowen Jr. before he committed to Louisville, an Adidas school.
In one text, then-Louisville coach Rick Pitino expressed interest in Bowen. But there was no clear sign the legendary coach knew about an alleged scheme to give the player’s father $100,000 in violation of NCAA rules.
According to reports, a phone call between a Kansas assistant and former Adidas executive, and upstate native Merl Code, Jr., discussed financial requests of the family of Duke freshman Zion Williamson of Spartanburg.
Despite the defense attorney’s wishes, the judge in the case did not allow the phone call into evidence.
The defense contends that no players, including Williamson, were directly involved in making financial requests.
Williamson chose Duke over Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Clemson on Jan. 20. Nike sponsors all of those schools except Kansas, which is sponsored by Adidas. He’s projected as a Top 10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Closing arguments were expected to begin Wednesday afternoon.
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