After more than a month had passed since ten people, including four Division I assistant coaches, were arrested in connection with an FBI investigation into corruption and fraud, indictments were handed out to eight of the ten. The two people who have yet to be indicted are Munish Sood and Brad Augustine, with Sood being a financial planner based in New Jersey and Augustine formerly running the 1-Family grassroots program.
1-Family, which is based in Florida, is an adidas-sponsored grassroots program. Among the eight men who were indicted are two men with deep connections to adidas, Jim Gatto and Merl Code. While they’re not being indicted does not mean that Sood and Augustine have already begun to cooperate with authorities, it is a development that bears mentioning.
According to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, Sood and Augustine no longer appear by name in the indictments, with Sood now referred to as co-conspirators. Sood is “CC-1” and Augustine “CC-2” in the updated reports.
Indictments in the case were handed out this week, with coaches Tony Bland (USC), Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State), Chuck Person (Auburn) and Emanuel “Book” Richardson (Arizona) among those who will now have to sit in front of a grand jury. It should be noted that even though Sood and Augustine have not been indicted at this time, that does not rule out the possibility down the line.
There’s still a lot to be figured out with regards to this case and its ultimate impact on college basketball. Much of that will depend upon what the FBI gathers from those willing to speak in order to avoid serious penalty.
USC landed an important commitment for its future on Monday night as four-star Class of 2018 guard Elijah Weaver.
Regarded as the No. 35 overall prospect in the Rivals’ national Class of 2018 rankings, the 6-foot-5 Weaver gives the Trojans a floor leader to build around for the future as he provides great size in the backcourt. Capable of playing multiple guard spots, Weaver has a lot of upside for a program that has done a very solid job of developing backcourt talent under head coach Andy Enfield.
Weaver’s commitment is also important for the Trojans because it comes despite the looming FBI investigation that the program is dealing with thanks to former assistant coach Tony Bland. USC had recently lost a four-star commitment from forward J’Raan Brooks, so the commitment of Weaver is a huge momentum boost for them as they get right back on track in the Class of 2018.
With Weaver in the mix, USC now owns three four-star pledges in the 2018 class as he joins four-star forward Taeshon Cherry and four-star guard Kevin Porter.
USC lost a commitment from a four-star prospect on Friday as Class of 2018 forward J’Raan Brooks announced that he’s opening up his recruitment.
Regarded as the No. 70 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, Brooks is de-committing as the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption centers in-part on Trojan assistant coach Tony Bland. Among 10 people indicted by federal authorities on fraud and corruption charges, Bland’s arrest could hurt USC in recruiting.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances stemming from the recent news that has come to light in regards to the Trojan basketball program – I have decided to reopen my commitment to examine other options,” Brooks said on Twitter.
A 6-foot-8 native of Seattle, Brooks will likely become a hot name on the West Coast as he should have plenty of options to choose from.
USC still has two verbals from two four-star prospects in the Class of 2018 as forward Taeshon Cherry and guard Kevin Porter remain committed.
A strong recruiting week for USC continued on Friday as the Trojans landed four-star forward Taeshon Cherry in the Class of 2018.
After landing a commitment from fellow Class of 2018 four-star forward J’Raan Brooks earlier this week, the Trojans have now recruited their potential future frontcourt as both players could step in and make an immediate impact.
The 6-foot-9 Cherry is especially intriguing for USC because he possesses the potential to play either the three or the four. Rivals considers him as the No. 30 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 national rankings. With wing skills like perimeter shooting and passing, Cherry can add some unique things to the Trojans while also still being able to rebound against bigger opponents. Ideally, Cherry should be a suitable replacement for Bennie Boatwright in time.
Cherry still has to figure out some stuff regarding which position he’s most comfortable at, but he has a world of upside that has given him five-star status in some respected national rankings.
Now that USC has landed Brooks and Cherry, they can spend July trying to figure out which other players to pursue in the Class of 2018.
USC has a chance to be really good next season as forward Bennie Boatwright announced that he’s returning for his junior season.
The 6-foot-10 forward put up 15.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 36 percent from three-point range as his return means that the Trojans should be a major contender in the Pac-12 next season. Elijah Stewart also announced this week that he is returning as USC could start Jordan McLaughlin, De’Anthony Melton, Stewart, Boatwright and Chimezie Metu next season.
With Duke transfer Derryck Thornton Jr. also becoming eligible and McDonald’s All-American guard Charles O’Bannon Jr. entering the program, the Trojans are a potential top-10 team.
With Nikola Jovanovic turning pro and Darion Clark and Malik Martin both transferring out, USC entered the summer in a position where they could afford to add another front court option to help with depth. Thursday afternoon the Trojans did just that, as former Minnesota forward Charles Buggs has decided to join Andy Enfield’s program.
As a graduate student Buggs will be eligible to compete immediately for the Trojans, who return rising sophomores Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu from last season’s front court rotation. News of Buggs’ decision was first reported by CBSSports.com.
Last season the 6-foot-9 Buggs averaged 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game for Minnesota, shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 3.19 percent from beyond the arc. His best scoring output came in a win over Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, scoring 15 points, and from a rebounding standpoint his season high of ten came in a loss to Temple in mid-November.
With USC having the aforementioned Boatwright and Metu, not to mention highly regarded incoming freshman Harrison Henderson and another newcomer in Nick Rakocevic, Buggs will simply have to fit into the rotation as opposed to being asked to play a starring role. He gives USC some additional experience in the front court, something they lost with the departures of Jovanovic and Clark.