Arizona Wildcats assistant coach Book Richardson is one of four coaches arrested after being charged with fraud and corruption for “taking bribes to deliver star athletes to a financial adviser or an agent,” NBC News uncovered Tuesday.
An FBI investigation revealed Richardson took $20,000 in bribes, "some of which Richardson appears to have kept for himself and some of which he appears to have provided to at least one prospective high school basketball player,” a court document said.
That player has been suggested to be 2018 five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly, since the court document says “player-5” verbally committed to “university-4” (Arizona) “on or about” Aug. 9.
Quinerly committed to Arizona on Aug. 8.
It’s likely not the only player Richardson has paid, as the document says co-defendant Christian Dawkins, a former sports agent, referred to a current player at “university-4” (Arizona) “who had already received payments.”
The court document says Richardson also used the bribe money "to use his influence over the student-athletes he coached to pressure them" to hire Dawkins as their manager and Munish Sood, another co-defendant, as their financial adviser, according to the document.
Richardson has been on UA head coach Sean Miller’s coaching staff since 2007 when they were at Xavier. Richardson is lauded for his recruiting ability, particularly in the East Coast.
Alleged NCAA coach bribery scheme in a nutshell pic.twitter.com/6ehTIdY1HS— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) September 26, 2017
The other assistant coaches involved in this were Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Auburn’s Chuck Person, and USC’s Anthony Bland.
“They have all been in and around the game for a long time,” said acting US Attorney Joon Kim. “All of them had the trust of players they recruited. Young men who looked up to them and believed their coaches had their best interests at heart.”
Adidas executive Jim Gatto also arranged payments to high school players and/or their families in exchange for commitments to schools they sponsor, the court document says.
Former five-star recruit Brian Bowen, who the Wildcats were recruiting heavily, allegedly received $100,000 from Louisville.
Obviously, this investigation is likely going to have ramifications on Arizona basketball and the college basketball landscape as a whole.
"For the defendants charged today, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March," Kim said. "We hope these charges and arrests will help keep the sport clean and honest."
Joon Kim to others in college basketball: "We have your playbook."— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) September 26, 2017
Yeah, this isn't over.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said he has already been in contact with the leadership at Arizona and USC.
Arizona has not released a statement on the matter yet. Oklahoma State has, and Auburn has suspended Person without pay.
Arizona is scheduled to have media day Wednesday, but it would be shocking if that isn’t postponed.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire