DURHAM, N.C. – After Duke’s 60-44 win over Syracuse on Saturday, the talk wasn’t about the return of Marvin Bagley III or the Blue Devils’ fifth straight win and their fourth straight while holding an ACC opponent under 60 points.
Instead, the talk from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was about the dark cloud hanging over college basketball.
“It’s a horrible time for the game,” Kryzyewski said. “The game has been on its knees begging for change for years. Sometimes unless something horrible happens you just don’t change. We need to change. We need to take a look at amateurism and define it differently.”
On Friday, a Yahoo Sports report tied current and former Duke, UNC and N.C. State players to the federal investigation into pay-to-play schemes involving coaches, recruits and agents.
Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr., and former UNC players Brice Johnson and Tony Bradley were listed as players who had a meeting or a meal with former ASM Sports associate Christian Dawkins. Dawkins was one of 10 people arrested in the FBI’s investigation.
Former N.C. State guard Dennis Smith Jr. and former UNC forward Brendan Haywood were listed in the federal documents as having received loans from the agency, according to the Yahoo report.
A second Yahoo report, published Friday night, included a 2016 email from Dawkins to ASM agent Andy Miller, who had been disassociated from N.C. State in 2012, claiming Dawkins had talked to Mark Gottfried, who was NC State’s head coach at the time, and Orlando Early, an NC State assistant coach.
Also late Friday, ESPN reported that Arizona head coach Sean Miller was heard on a wiretap discussing $100,000 in payments for freshman Deandre Ayton to sign with the Wildcats. Miller was an assistant coach at NC State under head coach Herb Sendek from 1996-2001.
Kryzyewski said the NCAA should become more “modern.”
“There’s enough out there for us to change,” Kryzyewski said. “How do we change in what we do in recruiting?”
Kryzyewski said one change that might not be bad would be when coaches go recruit a player and meet their families, that an agent be present.
“At least they would be getting expert advice that they chose,” Kryzyewski said. “Things like that. Let’s just get ahead of the game. Most of this stuff is what happens before they (the players) get here. I don’t have the exact solution, I just know that’s where the problems are.”
Boeheim, the Syracuse coach, said the answer isn’t to pay players, but that the one-and-done rule should end. The hall of fame coach said problems stem from agents reaching out to those one-and-done players before they get to college because they know they won’t be in school for very long.
“Everybody knows for 30 years that agents have been involved with players’ families,” Boeheim said. “This is nothing that would surprise anybody in coaching. Agents are trying to get clients, and when you have the one-and-done factor, they go after them.”
Boeheim did say he was surprised that assistant college basketball coaches are involved in the FBI’s investigation. In September, four assistant coaches were among the 10 arrested as part of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.
Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person was accused of receiving $91,500 from a financial adviser and swaying players to that adviser’s company. Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson, Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans and Southern California assistant coach Tony Bland also faced charges.
Boeheim said there is no doubt that agents are going to talk to parents, but it has nothing to do with college basketball.
“We can’t stop that,” Boeheim said. “Players need to know better, but they don’t always, but you don’t solve it by paying players. Agents are still going to try and get the player. The thing that bothers me is when coaches get involved in this.”
Boeheim said if players are talented enough to make it to the NBA straight out of high school, they should be able to go. College basketball, he explained, would be OK if players were allowed to skip college.
“It’s really eight or nine guys,” Boeheim said in reference to the number of athletes college basketball would miss out on if players could go straight to the NBA.
“The guys that are really good, they are going to make $100 million dollars (in the NBA),” Boeheim said. “But you have to look at the whole thing and decide what needs to be done. We have to wait and see wherever stuff falls and try to make some changes, but it’s not going to be easy.”
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