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Former San Diego coach Lamont Smith identified in college admissions scandal

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Former San Diego head coach Lamont Smith has been identified by the school as the employee involved in the widespread college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues.”

The scandal received nationwide attention earlier this month when prominent schools, and famous actresses like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were among 50 people charged for bribing college coaches and others to help gain access for their children to attend certain colleges.

The University of San Diego said Wednesday that they had been subject to a confidentiality order which barred them from mentioning Smith’s name. The order was later modified by the U.S. Department of Justice — which allowed the school to directly name its former head coach.

The indictment alleged that real estate developer Robert Flaxman paid nearly $110,000 to get his son and daughter into the University of San Diego using Smith as a point of contact. According to the indictment, Flaxman was an FBI witness and Smith allegedly helped the school accept Flaxman’s son as an athletic recruit — even though he didn’t play basketball.

Flaxman also allegedly paid similar bribes for his daughter to gain admissions to San Diego, but she declined to attend, according to a report from the USD Vista.

Smith resigned as San Diego’s head coach in 2018 after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence at the team’s hotel. Placed on administrative leave following the arrest, Smith resigned after the charges were dropped. Smith is currently an assistant coach at UTEP.

“The only USD employees, students, or applicants involved in the alleged wrongdoing are the three people identified by the government: Lamont Smith and two applicants, one is a current student and one declined admission,” University of San Diego Assistant Vice President of Media Communications Pamela Gray Payton said in a statement to ABC 10 News San Diego.

San Diego head coach Lamont Smith no longer facing domestic violence charges

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Less than two weeks after San Diego head coach Lamont Smith was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, it was reported Tuesday night that the San Francisco County District Attorney’s Office has decided to not charge Smith with a crime.

On February 25, Smith was arrested at Oakland International Airport on suspicion of domestic violence, assault with force likely to commit great bodily injury and false imprisonment. According to ABC 10 News in San Diego, Smith was involved in an alleged incident with a woman at the team hotel the night prior to the team’s return flight after winning a game at San Francisco.

Per reports the woman, who was taken to an area hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries, told police officers that she was intimately involved with Smith. Following the arrest, San Diego announced that Smith was being placed on administrative leave and assistant Sam Scholl would serve as acting head coach for the remainder of the season.

According to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, the school released a statement Tuesday saying that Smith’s status has not changed and Scholl will continue to serve as acting head coach.

With Scholl at the helm, San Diego lost to BYU in the quarterfinals of the WCC tournament. The Toreros have an overall record of 18-13, and it will learn its postseason fate (NIT, CIT, CBI or no postseason) on Sunday.

No. 6 Gonzaga rallies to beat San Diego, 77-72

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Killian Tillie scored 17 points, Rui Hachimura added 16 and No. 6 Gonzaga beat San Diego 77-72 on Thursday night to clinch at least a share of the West Coast Conference title.

The Bulldogs (26-4, 16-1 WCC) defeated the Toreros (17-12, 8-9) for the eighth straight game and for the 19th time in their last 20 meetings.

Olin Cater III led San Diego with 21 points.

After trailing at halftime and falling behind by eight points in the second half, the Bulldogs didn’t seize the lead until midway through the second half, when Tillie’s 3-pointer made it 52-51.

It was a back-and-forth affair from there, with the Toreros relying on their stingy defense to slow the up-tempo Bulldogs. But Gonzaga had too much firepower and was helped by four straight free throws from Hachimura when taking the lead for good with four minutes remaining.

Gonzaga demolished San Diego in last year’s visit by 58 points. The Bulldogs built an early six-point lead in this one but San Diego bounced back, tying the score at 27 with five minutes left on the first of three straight 3-point baskets by Carter. When he hit his second one, San Diego had a three-point advantage, its first edge since the game’s opening bucket.

Tyler Williams’ mid-range jumper gave San Diego a 35-30 lead and it was 37-34 at halftime. San Diego finished the first 20 minutes by converting 4 of 7 3-point shots.


Gonzaga: When Gonzaga fell behind early in the game, it was the first time it had trailed in four games. … The Bulldogs have earned at least a share of the WCC title in 17 of the past 18 seasons and 18 of the last 20. … Gonzaga is the only team in the nation with seven players to score at least 20 points in a game this season.

University of San Diego: The highest-ranked team the Toreros have beaten is No. 14 UCLA in the 2002-03 season. … Forward Cameron Neubauer was honored before the game on senior night.


Gonzaga is at BYU on Saturday night.

San Diego is at San Francisco on Saturday night.

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: No. 25 Baylor comes back, No. 9 North Carolina rolls

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 25 Baylor 69, No. 16 Vanderbilt 67

Taurean Prince scored 30 points and Lester Medford added 15 and five assists as the Bears erased a 13-point second half deficit to beat the Commodores in Waco. Medford’s three with 42 seconds remaining gave Baylor the lead for good, and the Bears’ work on the offensive glass was notable as well.

Baylor racked up 20 offensive rebounds, with Rico Gathers Sr. responsible for eight, which worked out to an offensive rebounding percentage of 46.5 percent despite going up against the likes of Damian Jones and Luke Kornet. Wade Baldwin IV led Vandy with 19 points, and more about Baylor’s win can be read here.


Florida State 76, VCU 71: The Seminoles managed to hang on in Atlanta, with VCU’s Melvin Johnson nearly leading the Rams to a comeback win. Johnson scored a career-high 36 in the loss, with 23 of those points coming in the second half. Xavier Rathan-Mayes led the winners with 23 points while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out three assists.

San Diego 53, San Diego State 48: In a game played outdoors at Petco Park the Toreros picked up the first big win of Lamont Smith’s tenure as head coach. USD wasn’t great offensively but their opponents were even worse in the first half, as SDSU shot 3-for-20 from the field and trailed 31-13 at the break. Steve Fisher’s team managed to pull to within one late in the second half, but the hole was too deep to crawl out of. Duda Sanadze led San Diego with 15 points and Olin Carter III added 12 (4-for-7 3PT).


Devin Patterson, Omaha: Not only did Patterson score 41 points Sunday, but his three-pointer as time expired gave the Mavericks a 100-97 win at Montana State.

Melvin Johnson, VCU: Johnson shot 14-for-24 in scoring his career-high 36 points in the Rams’ five-point loss to Florida State in Atlanta.

Taurean Prince, Baylor: Waller-Prince scored 30 points on 10-for-19 shooting to lead the Bears to a two-point win over No. 16 Vanderbilt.


San Diego State (first half): Shooting 3-for-20 from the field is bad. What was also bad for San Diego State was the fact that they allowed San Diego to grab eight offensive rebounds on the other end. They were outworked and outplayed Sunday.

Damian Jones, Vanderbilt: Jones, who did grab eight rebounds in a two-point loss at No. 25 Baylor, shot just 2-for-7 from the field in scoring nine points.


  • No. 9 North Carolina rolled to a 98-65 win over Davidson, as they limited the Wildcats to 34.3 percent shooting from the field. Nate Britt matched his career-high with 17 points, leading five Tar Heels in double figures.
  • No. 17 Cincinnati scored 51 points in the first half of its 87-66 win over Morgan State. Shaq Thomas posted 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Gary Clark Jr. accounted for 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Bearcats.


  • Pittsburgh scored 50 points in both halves as they rolled to a 100-47 win over Central Arkansas. Damon Wilson scored 20 points, shooting 7-for-9 from the field, off the bench to lead the barrage.
  • Chris Mullin picked up his first head coaching win at Madison Square Garden as St. John’s held off St. Francis-Brooklyn 63-56. The win is also the 1,800th in the history of the program, making St. John’s the ninth Division I program to reach that number.
  • Hofstra capped the doubleheader at MSG with an 86-80 win over Appalachian State, as they scored 52 second-half points. Brian Bernardi scored 23 points to lead the way for the Pride.
  • James Madison moved to 8-3 on the season with a 107-84 win over Marshall. Shakir Brown scored 30 points and Ron Curry added 20 for the Dukes.
  • UMass-Lowell picked up its first-ever win over Boston College, beating the Eagles 68-66 in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles were shorthanded, as Eli Carter (ankle) and Dennis Clifford (stomach bug) both sat out.
  • Monmouth rebounded from its loss at Canisius Friday night with a comfortable 56-42 win at Niagara. The Hawks limited the Purple Eagles to 15 first-half points.
  • Two-time defending MAAC tournament champion Manhattan fell to 0-2 in league play, losing 75-70 to Marist at home. Khalid Hart scored 17 points and Brian Parker and Ryan Funk added 16 apiece for the winners.
  • Coastal Carolina moved to 1-1 in Big South play with a 63-58 win over Radford (als0 1-1). Jaylen Shaw and Marcus Freeman scored 12 apiece to lead a balanced offensive effort for Cliff Ellis’ Chanticleers.
  • Colorado State scored 52 first-half points and then went ice cold in the second half, with Colorado’s improved defense ultimately leading to the Buffaloes winning 88-77 in Fort Collins. Josh Scott, who struggled in each of the last two meetings in this series, scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Colorado.
  • Jaelan Sanford’s three-pointer as time expired gave Toledo a 71-69 win at Green Bay. Nathan Boothe led the Rockets with 27 points.
  • Southern Miss picked up its first win of the season, beating North Dakota State 74-62. Quinton Campbell scored 17 points to lead four Golden Eagles in double figures.
  • Saint Mary’s remained undefeated as they beat Big West favorite UC Irvine 70-60 in Moraga. Emmett Naar led five Gaels in double figures with 15 points while also dishing out five assists.
  • Bryce Alford scored 24 points and Isaac Hamilton 21 as UCLA beat Long Beach State 83-76. The visiting 49ers were playing their second game in as many days, as they beat New Mexico State Saturday.
  • Dejounte Murray scored 17 points, Matisse Thybulle 16 and Andrew Andrews 15 and ten rebounds as Washington took care of Cal-State Fullerton, 87-69.

San Diego, San Diego State to play December 5 at Petco Park

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Just over a month after it was reported that city foes San Diego and San Diego State were working towards an agreement that would result in a game to be played at Petco Park, the schools announced Friday that it is now official. The two teams will play December 5 at the home of the San Diego Padres, with tipoff scheduled for 2:00 p.m. local time.

“We are excited for the opportunity to bring a basketball game to Petco Park and can’t wait to see the configuration for the event,” San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher said in the release. “It should make for a great event in one of the most beautiful parks in the country. To have this event with USD is a natural. These two teams playing in this venue should be a great attraction in the city, county, state and around the country.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of this distinctive game,” new San Diego head coach Lamont Smith said. “To be able to play a successful program, like San Diego State, on a neutral floor is an opportunity to never pass up. Combine that with the continuation of the city series in Petco Park, and we’ve created a fantastic atmosphere for both teams and fan bases to experience in December. The San Diego Padres and Petco Park have been more than gracious to partner with us to use their tremendous venue for the San Diego Championship.”

This will be the first neutral site meeting between the two programs since 1992, and it also starts a new five-year deal in the series. The game will return to campus sites during the 2016-17 season, with San Diego State hosting that game at Viejas Arena.

San Diego State has prior experience playing a game outdoors, as they fell to Syracuse in November 2012 in a game played on the USS Midway at the Navy Pier in San Diego. Wind and Syracuse’s 2-3 zone had a major impact on the Aztecs offensively, as they shot 17-for-63 from the field, 1-for-18 from three and 14-for-33 from the foul line.

Son of NBA head coach becomes graduate transfer after leaving San Diego

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Nick Kerr, the son of Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, will graduate and transfer from San Diego, according to a report from Don Norcross of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The 6-foot-3 Kerr wasn’t much of a factor with the Toreros last season, playing in only six games and scoring nine total points.

Having one more season of college basketball eligibility means that the younger Kerr would like to be closer to his father, so that he can learn about potentially becoming a coach after his playing career is over.

“My dad’s coaching the Warriors and I’m trying to become a coach,” Nick Kerr said to Norcross. “I want to learn from him. I think being around (the Warriors’) practice would be the best thing for me to figure out what he’s doing.”

Norcross also reports that Kerr will look for a Division I landing spot for next season, but Kerr could also choose more playing time at a lower level if it were a better fit.

One interesting note about Kerr leaving San Diego is how much of an impact he had away from the floor. As the Norcross story mentions, Kerr was a big part of leading the Toreros in offseason workouts and was often a willing host for recruiting visits. Those little things help a program immensely when you have role players who try to make everyone else better and it’ll be interesting to see how Kerr’s potential future career as a coach pans out.

Kerr can certainly learn a lot being around his father and some of the best players in the world like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson next season.