At least one former ALL-USA boys basketball player, Brian Bowen, may be connected to the current college basketball scandal and other players on last season’s ALL-USA teams may also be affected because their chosen schools are tied to the FBI’s criminal complaint.
Louisville, Southern Cal, Arizona, Alabama, Miami and Oklahoma State were not named directly in the complaint, but the report provided enough details to identify the schools.
That will lead to questions, fairly or unfairly, for former ALL-USA players who committed to those schools. Bowen, a former La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) forward from Saginaw, Mich., who is alleged to have received $100,000 for signing with the Cardinals, has already been suspended indefinitely by Louisville and is being held out of the team’s practices.
The other ALL-USA players from last season who may be affected by the scandal include: former Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix) center DeAndre Ayton, now a freshman center at Arizona; former Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) guard Collin Sexton and former Mae Jemison (Huntsville, Ala.) forward John Petty Jr., who are freshmen guards at Alabama; and former Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) point guard Chris Lykes, now a freshman guard at Miami.
Ayton committed relatively early and to an in-state school, but his recruitment may raise flags. He’s looked at as a one-and-done type athlete and Arizona assistant Book Richardson was indicted by the FBI on charges that include conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes by an agent of a federally funded organization, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud conspiracy.
Sexton, an Alabama signee, committed last fall. Among those recruiting Sexton to Alabama was basketball administrator Kobie Baker, who resigned on Wednesday after being identified in the FBI’s criminal complaint. Baker is alleged to have accepted $15,000 to get players in the Alabama program to retain Marty Blazer’s services as a financial advisor. The complaint also alleges that Baker set up a meeting around Aug. 31 in an Atlanta restaurant with Blazer, Atlanta-based former NBA official and clothier Rachan Michel and the father of an incoming Alabama freshman player. Sexton is the only freshman on the team’s roster from the Atlanta area. While there was no official word from his family, his older sister, Giauna LaShay, tweeted this Thursday:
Petty’s connection to the scandal is more remote. He was an early signee, and was signing at an in-state school. His only obvious connection to the scandal is he’s at Alabama.
Lykes, Gonzaga’s all-time leading scorer, has not been tied to the complaint. However, Miami has said the U.S. Attorney’s Office is investigating a member of its coaching staff and a student recruit. The Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post identified that recruit as Nassir Little, a forward at Orlando Christian Prep who had listed Miami among his top schools. On Wednesday, Little tweeted that he was opening up his recruitment, though he later deleted the tweet.
At the minimum, several of the schools are facing NCAA sanctions and that could lead to transfers by players, including the ALL-USA players.