This morning, the news broke that four college basketball assistants have been indicted on federal fraud and corruption charges in a scandal that involved the funneling of money from sports apparel companies to high school basketball recruits.
Jim Gatto, the director of global marketing for Adidas, was also arrested and stands accused of funneling $100,000 to a recruit who been identified in court documents as “All-American high school basketball player” who committed to an Adidas school in June.
As reported by CBS Sports, the only All-American prospect who committed to an Adidas school during the time frame in question was 5-star prospect Brian Bowen, who committed to Louisville, even though the Cardinals and Rick Pitino had not been previously mentioned as a destination during Bowen’s recruitment.
In an interview following the surprise commitment that will now come under more scrutiny, Pitino said it was the luckiest he’s been in 40 years of coaching, even luckier than his Kentucky Derby win. He strangely added Louisville had spent ‘zero dollars’ in his recruitment.
“We got lucky on this one,” Pitino told Terry Meiners of News Radio 840. “I had an AAU director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player (Bowen) I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I say him play. In my 40 years of coaching this is the luckiest I’ve been.”
Pitino hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing by the NCAA or otherwise as of today, but given his past recruiting scandals, this all seems bizarrely timed, to say the least.
Here’s the audio of ‘lucky’ Rick Pitino talking about the 5-star recruit that ‘fell’ into his lap. The relevant part starts at 16:30.