The ongoing trial involving convicted felon Christian Dawkins has brought up new testimony that involves the Kentucky Wildcats, Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels basketball programs.
Dawkins, who is one of the central figures in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into college hoops corruption, was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing how those three schools had the “resources” to make a run for Zion Williamson when he was still an uncommitted Class of 2018 recruit.
Christian Dawkins, who was in the Vegas hotel room caught on video wiretap, discussing Zion recruitment: "Duke is gonna have their resources. UNC is UNC. Kentucky is gonna have their resources."— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) April 25, 2019
Under oath, Marty Blazer said he understood Dawkins to be saying: "Duke, UNC and Kentucky will have people in place to pay whatever's necessary for Zion Williamson. Whatever Zion Williamson's family needed, we would be able to step in and [help with money] if it was close."— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) April 25, 2019
This isn’t the first time Dawkins and Kentucky have been linked. Back in November of 2018, a report surfaced that linked former Wildcats forward Jarred Vanderbilt and current point guard Ashton Hagans to Dawkins.
But at no point in that report did it say the players or their families agreed to these payments. Nothing ultimately came of that report other than Hagans’ family denying the claims.
Ultimately, Williamson ended up at Duke, so it’s hard to see this turning into an issue for Kentucky, especially since it’s become clear that Dawkins cannot be trusted and there’s still no concrete proof that Kentucky was doing this.
Still, this will be something to monitor as the trial continues.
As for Duke, former Blue Devils have now been mentioned twice in this trial after Marvin Bagley was also linked to an alleged pay-for-play scheme:
Today in federal court, FBI video wiretaps were played that included former USC assistant coach Tony Bland talking to Christian Dawkins about establishing a recruitment and payment scheme for then-prospect Marvin Bagley III.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) April 25, 2019
The good news for Duke is it involved former USC Trojans assistant Tony Bland setting up the payment, but it’s still not a good sign for Duke that their two best players of the last two seasons have been linked to pay-for-play schemes.