adidas for kids How Christian Dawkins went from unknown to a central figure in a scandal that has rocked college basketball
How Christian Dawkins went from unknown to key figure in a scandal that could bring down college basketballplay
OTL crew sad to see NCAA scandal (6:16)Bob Ley, Ryan Smith, Kate Fagan and Jeremy Schaap delve into the college basketball corruption that cost Rick Pitino his job. (6:16)Jeff GoodmanFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprintcommentUntil his arrest by FBI agents nearly two weeks ago, few college basketball fans had probably heard of Christian Dawkins, a relatively unknown figure in the sport who was operating in the murky space between youth and professional basketball.
Friends and former coaches describe Dawkins as a basketball junkie who was staging tournaments and coordinating AAU teams while he was still attending high school. The story of how he became the alleged linchpin in a clandestine FBI investigation into college basketball corruption includes personal tragedy, professional ambition and the all too familiar trappings of unethical dealings in amateur basketball. Attorney’s Office with three counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering conspiracy, along with James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for Adidas; Merl Code, another Adidas employee; Munish Sood, a financial planner; and Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of The League Initiative and program director of the Adidas sponsored 1 Family AAU program in Florida.
Dawkins is accused with Gatto, Code and Sood of arranging for payments of $250,000 to three high school players to sign with Adidas sponsored schools.
While Dawkins largely worked behind the scenes, he was influential enough that he was at the center of a federal lawsuit between LeBron James’ former financial adviser and one of the NBA’s top agents. McDaniels and Memphis Grizzlies forward Jarell Martin, among others.
Louisville and the history of overcoming scandalLouisville isn’t the first high profile basketball program rocked by scandal. And history shows that some Indiana, Kansas, UCLA and Kentucky have put it behind them more quickly than you might think.
Report: Pitino took bulk of cash in Adidas dealLouisville coach Rick Pitino received 98 percent of the cash that Louisville took in from Adidas in the school’s previous deal with the shoe company, the Courier Journal reported.
In a statement, Dawkins’ attorney, Steven Haney of Southfield, Michigan, said his client should not be “prematurely condemned based on speculation, accusations and misinformation.”
“There is a story to tell here, and that story is one decades long,” Haney said.
Dawkins grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, a Rust Belt city of about 49,000 residents, which is about 100 miles northwest of Detroit. His father, Lou Dawkins, was the popular basketball coach at Saginaw High School, and his mother, Latricia Vaughn Dawkins, was a principal.
“He was really a basketball guy,” said Paul Carmona, who coached an AAU team for Dawkins in Saginaw. “He loved basketball. I think he realized at an early age in high school that he wasn’t going to get it done as a player, so he was interested in becoming a team manager, director or other things.”
With future Michigan State and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green leading the Trojans, Saginaw High went a combined 53 2 and won Class A state championships in 2007 and ’08. When Green left for Michigan State, the Trojans waited on Dawkins’ younger brother, Dorian, to replace him as the team’s next star.
Dorian Dawkins was regarded as one of the country’s best rising freshmen in 2009. During his first game as an eighth grader, he had 36 points, 22 assists and 20 steals and didn’t play during the fourth quarter. He was so talented that his teammates and friends called him “The Future.” He loved ice cream and playing chess and the flute. His dream was play to point guard for the Spartans.
“He had NBA lottery pick written all over him,” Carmona said.
Tragically, Dorian Dawkins never even made it to high school. During a summer league tournament at Michigan State on June 12, 2009, he collapsed at the free throw line and was rushed to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. Christian Dawkins rushed onto the court when his younger brother collapsed and rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital.
“He just said that he was hurting, and he didn’t know what was going on and just to call Momma and Daddy,” Dawkins told USA Today High School Sports in June 2013.