Report: Former USC commit Taeshon Cherry allegedly identified in FBI probe

Jon Lopez/Nike

Former USC commit Taeshon Cherry, a senior in high school, has allegedly been identified in the FBI’s probe into college basketball bribery.

The four-star forward is Player-8 in the federal criminal complaint against former USC associate head coach Tony Bland, according to Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times.

Decommitting from USC last week — Bland was one of the coaches who recruited Cherry to the Trojans — Cherry is a high-end four-star prospect and 6-foot-9 wing. Cherry’s mother, Danielle, told Fenno that her son had no connection to the FBI case.

In the federal complaint, Christian Dawkins and financial advisor Munish Sood met with a relative of Player-8 at a restaurant in Los Angeles on Aug. 30. The group was joined by an undercover FBI agent posing as a financial backer who recorded the gathering.

According to the complaint, Dawkins and Sood wanted the relative to get Player-8 to use their services when he went to the NBA. The group wanted to bring Player-8 in for a meeting at a later date. The complaint also said the undercover agent gave Dawkins and envelope with $4,000 to give to the relative.

The complaint ultimately alleged that Bland, Dawkins and Sood facilitated $4,000 to Player-8’s relative. The next day, $5,00 allegedly went to David Elliott, a family friend of ineligible USC sophomore guard De’Anthony Melton.

It is notable that the complaint doesn’t give any firsthand accounts of the either man receiving the money. It’s also uncertain how the NCAA might respond to this.

Cherry had not previously connected to this but it’ll be interesting to see how his recruiting goes now that he is not with the Trojans. Initially planning to sign with USC in the fall, Cherry held out and opted to open things up. But this complicates some things with Cherry’s potential eligibility.