Report: Duke HC Mike Krzyzewski Likely to Be Deposed in Zion Williamson Lawsuit

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) listens to coach Mike Krzyzewski during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Yale in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski may reportedly be deposed as part of Gina Ford's lawsuit against former Blue Devils star Zion Williamson.

Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reported the news, noting lawyers for Ford, who is with Prime Sports Marketing and used to represent Williamson, are in the discovery process of the suit and are looking into various people to potentially depose.

That includes the legendary coach.

"We are leaving no stones unturned, if you get my message," attorney Willie Gary said when asked if Krzyzewski will face a deposition.

Forde summarized the situation, noting Williamson sued Ford and Prime Sports Marketing last June in an effort to end the representation agreement. The New Orleans Pelicans forward signed with Creative Artists Agency after entering into the agreement and said he could do so because the previous agreement violated North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act since Prime Sports is not certified as a registered athlete agent in the state.

In response, Ford sued Williamson for breaking their contract and is looking for $100 million in damages.

According to the attorneys Forde spoke with, proving Williamson received impermissible benefits during his time at Duke would mean he could not be covered by the Uniform Athlete Agents Act since he would not be an eligible student-athlete.

The attorneys said they are seeking to prove Williamson or his family received gifts, money, housing and possibly a car.

This comes after The Athletic's Daniel Wallach passed along Ford's requests for admission asking Williamson to say he received such benefits from sources such as Duke, Nike and Adidas:

Daniel Wallach @WALLACHLEGAL

NEW: Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent has served requests for admission in their lawsuit asking him to admit that he received “money, benefits, favors or other things of value” to attend Duke University and to wear and/or use Nike and Adidas. Wow. That escalated quickly. https://t.co/59gWX5bNKX

Wallach pointed out the possibility remains this is an effort to convince the star rookie to settle:

Daniel Wallach @WALLACHLEGAL

These discovery requests seem more like a veiled threat (“settle or else!”) than legit request to obtain relevant info to bolster claims. Timing also questionable since FL case is currently on hold against Zion Williamson while he appeals denial of personal jurisdiction motion.

Forde noted Williamson was also mentioned in federal court in 2018 during a trial looking into corruption in college basketball. Adidas consultant Merl Code told Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend what Williamson's stepfather was looking for during his recruitment, which was revealed in a transcript of a wiretapped call.

"I know what he's asking for," Code said. "He's asking for opportunities from an occupational perspective, he's asking for cash in the pocket and he's asking for housing for him and his family."

Williamson played for Duke during the 2018-19 season and won the Associated Press Player of the Year and Wooden Award. New Orleans selected him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA draft.