Ex-Adidas consultant tells of paying Bowen, Smith Jr.

An ex-Adidas consultant discussed new details of payments made to several former college basketball stars along with family and friends in federal court testimony in New York on Thursday.One day after admitting that he paid the family of 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick Deandre Ayton as well as families of four other players in an attempt to influence them, T.J. Gassnola answered questions and explained how he says he paid associates of Ayton, Brian Bowen, Dennis Smith Jr., Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa.Government and defense lawyers examined Gassnola in the wire fraud case against Adidas executive James Gatto, Adidas consultant Merl Code Jr. and agent runner Christian Dawkins. The cross-examination of Gassnola is scheduled to resume Monday as the trial surrounding allegations of corruption in college basketball continues.Gassnola shared details of the process behind Adidas making a $100,000 payment to the father of Bowen, a one-time five-star prospect, who signed to play for Louisville under then-head coach Rick Pitino. Gassnola told the courtroom that he was called by Dawkins as Bowen’s family was allegedly looking for money to attend Louisville before learning that Dawkins had tried to secure a signing by calling Code.Despite saying he did not speak with any member of the Louisville basketball staff about an agreement, Gassnola said in testimony that he texted Code the same night Bowen pledged his commitment to the Cardinals, saying, “By the way this Bowen thing looks good for us. Perception wise. I think.”Gassnola also testified that he paid an ex-assistant coach at NC State $40,000 to deliver to the family of Smith in hopes of landing the star guard. Gassnola said in court that he gave the money directly to assistant Orlando Early after flying to North Carolina at Early’s request.

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