The recruitment of NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr.
N.C. State compliance director Carrie Doyle had concerns about former basketball coach Mark Gottfried having contact with Eric Leak, an agent runner and former Wolfpack football player, and Desmond Eastmond, an AAU coach that N.C. State determined had given impermissible benefits to Wolfpack athletes, according to a memo shown in federal court on Wednesday.
Doyle took the stand for a second straight day in the federal college basketball bribery trial in New York.
The memo, dated Oct. 30, 2014, was shown in court by defense attorney Michael Schachter and summarized a meeting between Gottfried, Doyle, N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow and N.C. State senior associate athletic director Chris Boyer.
“Gottfried needed to be able to recruit talented young men who may or may not have a relationship/ties with either Desmond Eastmond or Eric Leak,” the memo read in part.
“Mark said he was told by the Huntington Prep coach that Eric Leak was Dennis’ financial advisor,” another part of the memo read.
Despite the memo, Doyle testified she doesn’t think Leak is a financial adviser.
Leak played wide receiver for N.C. State from 1997-2000.
His trouble with the university and the NCAA occurred in 2011 when he was found to have provided $410 in impermissible benefits to N.C. State basketball player C.J. Leslie.
The NCAA also found he paid rent for N.C. State basketball player Tracy Smith.
In November 2011, N.C. State sent a disassociation letter to Leak.
But the following year, the university discovered Leak had a business relationship with Wolfpack football player David Amerson.
After Leslie and Amerson left N.C. State, Leak said they were clients of his Hot Shot Sports Management company
In October 2013, N.C. State barred Leak from its campus.
A state investigation found that Leak also provided impermissible benefits to an unidentified University of North Carolina athlete.
By 2015, Leak faced charges of defrauding N.C.’s Medicare system through his Nature’s Reflections company. IRS documents said Leak illegally obtained $8.7 million through Nature’s Reflections, and siphoned more than $200,000 to his sports management company.
Leak pleaded guilty last March in federal court to paying kickbacks and money laundering in connection with the case.
A Yahoo Sports article from February showed Eastmond was one of several basketball directors or trainers associated with Adidas programs who were on the payroll of an NBA agent.
The Yahoo documents showed Eastmond received $6,000 from former agent Andy Miller’s ASM Sports. N.C. State had disassociated itself from Miller in 2012 because the university found he had been dishonest about his relationship with Eastmond.
T.J. Gassnola, a former Adidas AAU director who is expected to testify this week, received $17,300, according to Yahoo.
Both Eastmond and Gassnola were previously punished in 2012 for their ties to Miller, and both of their programs were banned from participating in any NCAA-certified events for one year. Eastmond said in February he has “never” been a director with an Adidas-sponsored program and “stepped down” from his director status with Worldwide Renegades “after 2012” and now only serves as a trainer.
Schachter also quoted documentation from Jan. 5, 2016, that N.C. State needed documentation from Dennis Smith Sr. about how the family lived on no income in 2014.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Doyle testified Tuesday that she had no prior knowledge of a $40,000 payment made to the father of Dennis Smith Jr. to secure his son’s commitment to play basketball for the Wolfpack. The payment was allegedly made by James Gatto, a former Adidas executive and one of three defendants in the case, and delivered to Dennis Smith Sr. by an N.C. State assistant basketball coach.
“I have no knowledge,” she said.
According to other documents shown Wednesday during the trial, former N.C. State coach Gottfried was given a contract extension one day after Dennis Smith Jr. signed his National Letter of Intent with the school in November 2015.
Schachter showed documents to Judge Lewis Kaplan and the jury revealing that Gottfried was given a contract extension on Nov. 12, 2015, the day after Smith Jr. signed his National Letter of Intent on Nov. 11. Gottfried’s base salary was listed at $760,000 with a “supplemental compensation” of $1.725 million.
Schachter, the attorney for former Adidas executive Jim Gatto, one of three defendants in the case, said in court the extension was given “one day” after Smith Jr. signed his NLI.
Gottfried’s contract, however, had been agreed upon well before it was signed. Gottfried led his team to the NCAA tournament four times in his first four years as N.C. State’s head coach, and made it to the Sweet 16 twice. The school’s board of trustees approved the contract on Nov. 13, 2015.
The trial could go to the jury as early as late next week.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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Staff writer Steve Wiseman contributed.