Former N.C. State guard Dennis Smith Jr. is among the players who allegedly received five-figure payments, according to federal documents gathered as part of the FBI’s investigation of college basketball, Yahoo Sports reported on Friday.
Documents from sports agency ASM show that Smith, now with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, owed $73,500 to the firm, owned by former sports agent Andy Miller.
The money was paid out in hopes of Smith signing with ASM. The documents also had notes on how the money could be recouped if Smith went with another agent. Smith ultimately hired Glenn Schwartzman of Paramount Sports and Entertainment as his agent.
If the payments are proven to have been made, the players’ college eligibility would have been compromised. The NCAA can investigate and could sanction any of the involved schools.
Asked by reporters about the story while in Los Angeles for the Mavericks game with the Lakers Friday night, Smith declined to discuss any specifics about the Yahoo report. The story adds to the distractions around the Mavericks. Sports Illustrated reported on sexual harassment within the Mavericks front office earlier this week.
“I’m a firm believer in God and everything happens for a reason,” Smith said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Whether it’s going to strengthen you or destroy you, you make that decision. But since I’ve been here, it’s been a class organization from top to bottom, starting with Mark Cuban and all the way down to players like myself. It’s been great, fantastic.
“I’m here to play basketball. Everything else to me is just noise and I have to block all that out.”
Attempts to reach Smith’s father, Dennis Smith Sr., and his former coach at N.C. State, Mark Gottfried, were unsuccessful on Friday. Efforts to reach Miller were also unsuccessful.
Smith Jr.’s name is on two of the documents Yahoo published on Friday. Federal authorities gathered the information during a years-long investigation of college basketball’s underworld of recruiting.
One ASM document published by Yahoo, dated Dec. 31, 2015, showed Smith receiving a $43,500 loan. Another document showed Smith owing $73,500.
Smith, from Fayetteville, played in 2016-17 for the Wolfpack. He averaged 18.1 points and 6.2 assists per game for N.C. State, which finished with a 16-17 overall record and went 4-14 in ACC play.
Smith declared for the NBA after the season and Dallas selected him with the No. 9 overall pick last June. He’s averaging 14.8 points and 4.9 assists per game for the Mavericks this season.
The money Smith reportedly received is the highest total listed in the wide-ranging Yahoo story.
N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow released a statement Friday saying the school had no knowledge of any payments to Smith prior to the Yahoo report. Yow also released a copy of a letter N.C. State sent to Miller on Sept. 19, 2012 disassociating him from the Wolfpack program for at least 10 years. He was not allowed to contact any N.C. State student-athletes or offer them any benefits or inducements.
Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter and former UNC players Brice Johnson and Tony Bradley were also named in the Yahoo report.
Duke released a statement Friday that said there were no eligibility issues connected to the report.
Steve Kirschner, UNC senior associate athletic director, said, “We have no information on what is mentioned in today’s Yahoo story, but we will cooperate fully with any and all investigations.”