Miami to withhold star center from competition pending eligibility check

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Miami announced on Friday night, less than 20 minutes before they tipped off in their season-opener against Lehigh, that Dewan Hernandez, formerly Dewan Huell, will be held out of competition pending a review of his eligibility.

Hernandez is a 6-foot-11 center and a former five-star prospect that averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 boards as a sophomore last season.

The school did not provide any more information regarding the cause of the questions surrounding Hernandez’s eligibility. Miami was, however, tied to the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball, as texts between Adidas executives, bag-men and an AAU coach hinted at a potential deal to funnel money to the AAU coach in exchange for the commitment of Nassir Little. Miami is sponsored by Adidas.

Hernandez, who went by Huell at the time, played his high school and AAU ball in Florida, but he was a part of Team Breakdown, a program sponsored by Under Armour.

But according to a report from ESPN on Thursday, Hernandez had a deal in place to be paid by Christian Dawkins, a former runner for ex-NBA agent Andy Miller that was convicted of two felonies in the first trial stemming from the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption. That report, citing an email the website obtained, stated that Dawkins planned to pay Hernandez $500 a month from September 2017 through January 2018 and then $1,000 per month until April.