Adidas consultant testifies he paid families of Ayton, other recruits

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Adidas consultant testifies he paid families of Ayton, other recruits

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Adidas consultant testifies he paid families of Ayton, other recruits

A former consultant with Adidas testified that he made payments to families of star basketball recruits in hopes of them signing with schools that represented the company, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola said he and Adidas worked together to pay the families of Deandre Ayton, Brian Bowen Jr., Billy Preston, Dennis Smith Jr. and Silvio de Sousa.

On Wednesday, Gassnola testified that he agreed to pay $25,000 to Bowen’s family, according to ESPN.

All except Ayton went to Adidas schools. Preston and De Sousa went to Kansas, Smith Jr. went to North Carolina State, and Bowen Jr. committed to Louisville but never joined the program because the FBI discovered that his father worked to get $100,000 from Adidas.

Ayton attended Arizona, a Nike school.

Gassnola pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He testified that he was paid $150,000 per year by Adidas, according to the Daily Star. He stopped working for the company in September 2017.

According to ESPN, Gassnola did not address specifics of payments to the families of Ayton, Smith, Preston or De Sousa.

Ayton plays for the Phoenix Suns and Smith Jr. plays for the Dallas Mavericks. De Sousa is still eligible at Kansas, according to ESPN.

Preston, who never played for Kansas after being suspended for breaking team rules, played in Bosnia and is now in the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. Bowen Jr. currently plays basketball in Australia, according to the Associated Press.

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Adidas consultant testifies he paid families of Ayton, other recruits
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