Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson was sentenced to prison Thursday for his role in the federal college basketball fraud scandal.
Richardson, who worked as an assistant at Arizona under Sean Miller from 2009 until his arrest in Sept. 2017, was sentenced to three months in prison and two years of probation.
Richardson, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of federal funds bribery in January, admitting to accepting $20,000 in bribes from Christian Dawkins, an aspiring sports agent who hoped to get involved with NBA prospects. Richardson, one of four ex-assistant coaches to be hit with charges, admitted to accepting the money in an effort to steer Arizona players toward Dawkins.
Richardson was captured on an array of FBI wiretaps and surveillance videos accepting money from Dawkins and speaking about how he could direct players to Dawkins. In one recording, Richardson told Dawkins that Miller was paying star center Deandre Ayton, the eventual No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, $10,000 a month to play at Arizona. Miller has denied any wrongdoing.
In another instance, Richardson received $15,000 in cash to be directed toward securing a high school prospect’s commitment to Arizona. Instead, Richardson kept the money for himself.
The charge Richardson pled guilty to calls for 18-24 months in prison but U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos cited Richardson’s history of helping players, plus a lack of criminal record, in delivering the lesser sentence.
"I have no doubt he has positively impacted dozens if not hundreds of young men over the course of his career," Ramos said, according to CBS Sports. "I think that merits some leniency."
In court, Richardson said he took “full responsibility” for his actions.
Earlier this week, Ramos opted not to levy prison time to former USC assistant Tony Bland, who accepted a $4,100 bribe from Dawkins. Instead, Bland was hit with two years’ probation.
Former South Carolina and Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.
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