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Report says former NC State coach Mark Gottfried was in contact with associate tied to FBI probe

State's Gottfried on point guard Dennis Smith

N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried talks about the confidence and leadership of freshman point guard Dennis Smith and the strength and depth of the ACC.
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N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried talks about the confidence and leadership of freshman point guard Dennis Smith and the strength and depth of the ACC.

Two former N.C. State basketball coaches, including Mark Gottfried, were in contact with the associate of an NBA agent who had been disassociated from N.C. State, according to federal documents published by Yahoo Friday night. Both the agent and the associate are involved in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball.

Christian Dawkins, a former AAU basketball coach and associate who worked for sports agent Andy Miller at ASM Sports, wrote an email to Miller at 9:52 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2016, that he’d been in contact with N.C. State head coach Gottfried and assistant coach Orlando Early.

In the email, Dawkins wrote to Miller that Butch Pierre, another N.C. State assistant coach at the time, “never called me back but Gottfried and Orlando Early both called me over the weekend on separate matters.”

Copied on the email were Andrew Vye, an ASM agent, Jessica Ruffin, an ASM office manager, and Gabriel Ovejas, an ASM finance manager.

Miller received a disassociation letter from N.C. State in 2012 after the school found Miller had been dishonest about his business relationship with Desmond Eastmond, an AAU coach.

Dawkins was one of 10 people arrested in September as part of the FBI’s investigation into two pay-to-play schemes involving agents and college basketball coaches.

Dawkins, though he worked for Miller from 2015-17, was not disassociated from N.C. State so he had no such restrictions.

The Aug. 29, 2016 email from Dawkins to Miller does not reveal the nature of the conversation Dawkins had with Gottfried or Early, or why he was waiting for Pierre to call him. The email, which had the subject line “Morning Update,” also includes notes “From the weekend” about Brian Bowen, a Class of 2017 forward who was heavily recruited by Gottfried.

“Vye if you have to make a call to these guys the kid that they want from me is Brian Bowen. Joe (Pasternak) is telling me the kids dad wants him in school for 2 years, not sure how true that is,” Dawkins wrote in the email. “My kid isn’t going to decide anytime soon, so I would act quickly and try to make a relationship with the kids dad now. Arizona will pretty much do whatever we ask of them right now, until my kid decides on a school.”

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Brian Bowen signed with Louisville after being heavily recruited by N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried. Gregory Payan AP

Bowen committed to Louisville in June 2017. FBI documents released in September allege that Louisville signed Bowen after an agreement was made for adidas to pay his family $100,000.

Gottfried was fired in February 2017 after the Wolfpack went 15-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC. Gottfried, Early and Pierre left N.C. State in March 2017.

N.C. State athletic department spokesman Fred Demarest said the school was aware of the latest Yahoo report and the email.

“We have no additional information and can’t comment at the current time,” Demarest said in a text message.

Gottfried, Pierre and Early did not respond to requests for comment. Miller did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Efforts to reach N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow for comment on Saturday were unsuccessful.

Dennis Smith named in report

In a separate Yahoo Sports report, published Friday morning, documents obtained as part of the FBI’s investigation alleged former N.C. State guard Dennis Smith, Jr., owed $73,500 in loans he received from ASM, Miller’s company. A Dec. 31, 2015 balance sheet included in the Yahoo report notes that Smith had received a loan for $43,500. Smith, who attended Trinity Christian in Fayetteville, was still in high school at the time.

Smith played at N.C. State under Gottfried in the 2016-17 season before declaring for the NBA draft.

The federal documents had notes on how the money loaned to Smith could be recouped if Smith went with another agent, according to the Yahoo report. The money Smith reportedly received is the highest total listed in the wide-ranging Yahoo story.

Smith ultimately hired Glenn Schwartzman of Paramount Sports and Entertainment as his agent, not ASM. He was the ninth pick in the 2017 NBA draft, going to the Dallas Mavericks.

Smith, asked by the Dallas Morning News about the Yahoo report while in Los Angeles for the Mavericks game with the Lakers Friday night, declined to discuss any specifics.

Attempts to reach Smith’s father, Dennis Smith Sr., on Friday were unsuccessful.

In response to the Friday morning Yahoo report, Yow said in a statement the school had no prior knowledge of Smith receiving money from Miller’s agency, which could have compromised his NCAA eligibility.

Yow also released a copy of the disassociation letter, which was in effect for 10 years, N.C. State sent to Miller. He was not allowed to contact any N.C. State student-athletes or offer them any benefits or inducements.

Arizona coach Sean Miller, former N.C. State assistant, heard on FBI wiretap

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Arizona head coach Sean Miller;s name emerged in an ESPN report that claims Miller is heard on FBI wiretaps discussing payments to a player. CHUCK LIDDY cliddy@newsobserver.com

In a related story, Arizona head coach and former N.C. State assistant Sean Miller will not coach the Wildcats’ game against Oregon Saturday night in response to an ESPN report that says he is heard on an FBI wiretap arranging a $100,000 payment to freshman Deandre Ayton to secure his commitment to the school.

“I believe it is in the best interests of my team that I not coach the game tonight,” Miller said in a statement released Saturday afternoon. “I continue to fully support the university’s efforts to fully investigate this matter and I am confident I will be vindicated. For now, my thoughts are with our team. They are a great group of young men that will support each other and continue their pursuit of winning a Pac-12 championship.”

An Arizona assistant coach, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, was one of 10 people arrested in September amid the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.

Sean Miller was a Wolfpack assistant under Herb Sendek from 1996-2001.

Duke, UNC players named in Yahoo report

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Duke forward Wendell Carter Jr., shoots a free throw against Wake Forest on Jan. 23. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter and former UNC players Brice Johnson, Brendan Haywood and Tony Bradley were also named in the Friday morning Yahoo report.

According to the report, Carter and Bradley were listed as players who had had meals or meetings with Dawkins.

The Yahoo report shows an expense report of Dawkins’ that includes a $106.36 lunch with Carter’s mom, Kylia Carter, in February 2016.

It’s not clear who paid for Kylia Carter’s lunch.

If Dawkins paid for the meal, it would be considered a minor NCAA violation. Meeting with an agent does not violate NCAA rules.

Duke athletic director Kevin White released a statement Friday saying there are no eligibility issues with Carter.

Efforts to reach Kylia Carter and Carter’s father, Wendell Carter, Sr., on Friday were unsuccessful.

UNC senior associate athletic director Steve Kirschner said Friday, “We have no information on what is mentioned in today’s Yahoo story, but we will cooperate fully with any and all investigations.”

When asked whether or not UNC had also sent a disassociation letter to Miller, Kirschner said ​UNC was not aware of N.C. State’s disassociation letter and added, “We don’t have an association” with him.

On an expense report in the Yahoo report, Johnson is listed as having a $100.09 dinner with Dawkins and his high school coach in March 2016. It’s unclear who paid for the meal. Bradley is not listed on a document in the Yahoo report.

Dawkins and Andy Miller

Dawkins was indicted on conspiracy charges in September. According to Forbes.com, federal agents raided ASM Sports offices in September 2017 as part of the college basketball investigation. Andy Miller’s computer was seized.

Miller lost his certification with the NBA Players Association in December, rendering him unable to represent NBA players.

N.C. State’s disassociation with Andy Miller in September 2012 barred him from having any contact with its coaches or players for 10 years.

Prior to working for sports agents, Dawkins ran the Dorian’s Pride AAU program in Saginaw, Michigan. Bowen, a 6-7 forward who was rated as a five-star recruit, was one of his players.

Bowen made an official visit to Arizona on Oct. 29, 2016, then an official visit to N.C. State on Oct. 31, 2016, according to 247sports. After Gottfried was fired, Bowen’s interest in N.C. State faded.

Bowen’s top-six list included N.C. State, Arizona, Creighton, Michigan State, Texas and UCLA.

But, after not previously considering Louisville, Bowen signed with the Cardinals on June 3, 2017. Bowen never played a game for Louisville and transferred to South Carolina, where he’s sitting out under NCAA transfer rules.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were both fired as a result of the Bowen scandal.

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC

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