Four college basketball coaches were among those charged Tuesday morning with bribery and corruption for their involvement in a national scandal.
The four coaches – Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona, and Tony Bland of Southern California – are accused of being influenced by money to steer high-profile student-athletes to particular athletic advisers, agents, and business managers.
Evans was an assistant coach under Frank Martin at South Carolina from 2012-2016 before leaving for Oklahoma State in April 2016. He followed fellow South Carolina assistant Brad Underwood to Oklahoma State, and when Underwood left for Illinois this March, Evans stayed on with the Cowboys.
The reason Evans’ involvement in this national probe is particularly interesting is because of the players he helped recruit to the Gamecocks. Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier, two of the the stars of this year’s team that made it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, were both recruited by Evans. Thornwell now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers and Dozier plays for the Dallas Mavericks.
The FBI complaint says that Evans’ involvement dates back to his time with the Gamecocks. According to the complaint, about a month before Evans left South Carolina, he met with financial advisers and NBA agents. During that meeting, he allegedly agreed to steer South Carolina players (listed as University 2 in the official complaint) to the specific advisers and agents involved in exchange for bribes.
The next month, Evans met again with some of the same parties and accepted a $500 cash bribe.
“Every guy I get and recruit is my personal kid,” Evans said according to the complaint. The complaint also shows that Evans said he would “bury” any other athlete advisers that attempted to recruit the players he coached.
Because of his adeptness at funneling his players to agents and advisers “and keeping everybody [else] out,” the complaint shows that Evans would sometimes ask for an additional five to seven thousand dollars “at the end of the day for delivering.”
It is unknown at this time whether Evans’ involvement dates back to earlier than March 2016.
South Carolina just released a statement on Evans from his time with the university.
“The University is aware that former assistant men's basketball coach Lamont Evans has been charged by federal prosecutors and learned of the charge from a press release issued by the Department of Justice,” the statement said. “These are serious accusations that are not consistent with University of South Carolina values. Behavior like this will not be tolerated in our programs.
“Of course, we will cooperate with investigators and we look forward to justice being done in this case.”