Top recruits address college basketball scandal: 'It's unfortunate. It's crazy.'

Pete Thamel

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Two top high school basketball stars publicly identified in the federal investigation that’s rocked the recruiting landscape addressed the scandal on Saturday afternoon at USA Basketball’s junior team minicamp.

Arizona commitment Jahvon Quinerly said neither he nor his family have been contacted by federal authorities. He declined comment when asked if they took money from former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson. He referred all questions about the case to his lawyer. Quinerly, a top point guard in the 2018 class, said he’s still verbally committed to Arizona. “For now,” he said, “I’m committed.” He added that he’s spoken to Arizona coach Sean Miller, who told him to focus on his high school season. “He was upset as well,” Quinerly said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s crazy.”

North Carolina commitment Nassir Little has been publicly identified as the player rival shoe companies were bidding up to $150,000 to help either Miami or Arizona secure his commitment.

Little said that he and his family did not receive any money and that they have not been contacted by federal authorities. “I know what me and my family did and didn’t do,” he said. “That’s all that matters.”

Since the story was initially reported more than a week ago, Little eliminated Miami and Arizona and committed to North Carolina. He said that he’d stick with his decision to attend Carolina no matter what punishment the NCAA levies in their investigation into the academic fraud case that’s shrouded the university and athletic department.

Like others in the college basketball realm, some top recruits are waiting to see if they’ll be contacted by federal authorities. (Getty)
Like others in the college basketball realm, some top recruits are waiting to see if they’ll be contacted by federal authorities. (Getty)

Little said UNC coach Roy Williams has insinuated to him that the Tar Heels won’t receive a significant punishment from the NCAA. He said that Williams has not told him of the specific punishment, but told him generally: “It’s not necessarily an athletic thing,” he said Williams told him. “It wasn’t just the basketball team involved in it. They’re not going to be penalized as people suggest.”

Little said he’s avoided looking at his phone to block out the “noise” surrounding the controversy.

Things could end up more complicated for Quinerly. In the federal documents associated with the case, Quinerly has been publicly identified as “Player-5.” Richardson is quoted in the federal documents saying Quinerly’s mother asked for money because “she didn’t know what I was already doing for her son.” Multiple conversations in the document revolve around Richardson securing $15,000 and delivering “a portion of the bribe money he received” to secure Quinerly’s commitment to Arizona. Richardson is quoted saying he had formerly encouraged players to speak with different financial advisers but would direct Arizona players solely to former agent Christian Dawkins and financer Munish Sood in exchange for the payment.

Quinerly said that basketball has provided an escape from the scandal. “It’s unfortunate,” he said. “It is what it is.”

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