Third man pleads guilty in San Diego basketball betting ring case


Richard Thweni, a California man facing federal charges in connection with a betting ring involving the University of San Diego basketball team, has pleaded guilty to three charges against him.

Thweni, 29, was facing charges of conspiracy to commit sports bribery, conduct an illegal gambling business, and distribute marijuana. A total of 10 defendants have been charged in the case.

At the center of the allegations is former San Diego star Brandon Johnson (pictured), who was allegedly recruited to throw games as part of the point-shaving scheme.

Johnson played at San Diego from 2005-2010. His best season with the Toreros came in 2007-08, when he averaged 16.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

As U-T San Diego reports, Thweni “admitted to operating a sports book from January 2009 to April 2011” and “trying to collect an outstanding gambling debt from a person in January 2011” as part of the plea agreement.

The federal case goes by the name “Operation Hook Shot,” and has expanded outwardly from a marijuana distribution case against one defendant, Steve Goria, 33, into a bribery case that also involves former assistant TJ Brown and former player Brandon Dowdy.

Dowdy played sparingly in one season with San Diego in 2006-07, 0.5 points and 0.5 rebounds in under six minutes per game. He later transferred to UC-Riverside, where he went on to play for two seasons.

To read the entirety of the report from U-T San Diego, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_