Christian Dawkins Allegedly Said Duke, UNC, UK Would Pay for Zion Williamson

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) reacts after scoring against North Carolina during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

FBI witness Louis Martin Blazer discussed comments made by Christian Dawkins during a wiretapped conversation with Clemson Tigers assistant coach Steve Smith about the recruitment of Zion Williamson during a federal court appearance Thursday. 

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported Dawkins was recorded on video wiretap saying, "Duke is gonna have their resources. UNC is UNC. Kentucky is gonna have their resources." Marty Blazer was asked under oath what he felt those remarks suggested.

"Duke, UNC and Kentucky will have people in place to pay whatever's necessary for Zion Williamson," he said. "Whatever Zion Williamson's family needed, we would be able to step in and [help with money] if it was close."

Blazer has become a central figure in the federal trial focused on corruption in college sports, most notably college football and college basketball.

On Tuesday, he testified he made payments to football players at Alabama, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Penn State and Pittsburgh. He said the payments went to family members and associates of recruits in exchange for choosing him as their financial advisor when the athletes turned pro.

Williamson was one of the most coveted basketball players in the 2018 class. He was rated as a 5-star prospect and the No. 5 overall recruit last year, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

The Spartanburg Day School (S.C.) product chose Duke amid interest from numerous other top programs, including North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas and Arizona.

He lived up to the enormous hype and then some by averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks across 33 appearances for the Blue Devils. He was the consensus National Player of the Year and a First Team All-American.

Williamson declared for the 2019 NBA draft on April 15.

Although his name was also mentioned in wiretapped phone calls discussed during an October trial as part of the large-scale FBI investigation, there's been no direct evidence he or his family accepted improper benefits.

Williamson is the favorite to become the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on June 20.

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