Nearly a year after transcripts of an FBI wiretap were made public implicating LSU basketball coach Will Wade of making improper inducements to a prospective player, the voice of the Tigers’ third-year coach could be heard telling recruiting middleman Christian Dawkins of a “strong-ass offer” he made during Tuesday night’s HBO documentary entitled: The Scheme.
Wade, who guided the Tigers to a 21-10 record and tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference this past season, was caught on a federal wiretap in his conversation with Dawkins, who was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison on charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery charges.
“I was thinking last night on this Smart thing,” Wade tells Dawkins on the wiretap in a reference to what appears to be guard Javonte Smart of Scotlandville, who ultimately signed with the Tigers and just completed his sophomore season. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m f…..ng tired of dealing with the thing. I went to him with a strong-ass offer about a month ago. “The problem was I know why he didn’t take it now. It was f…..g tilted toward the family a little bit. It was a hell of a f…..g offer, especially for a kid that’s going to be a two-three-year kid. I’ve made deals for as good players that were f….ng a lot simpler than this.”
Wade wasn’t charged in the FBI’s case nor did he testify but Dawkins’ lawyer, Steve Haney, said during the two-hour show that he was unsuccessful in trying to subpoena both Wade and Arizona head coach Sean Miller during Dawkins’ second bribery trial last April.
Miller and Dawkins also conducted a lengthy exchange that was caught on the wiretap involving Wade when the discussion turned to Arizona’s recruitment of standout center Naz Reid. The native of New Jersey signed with LSU, left after his freshman season to enter the NBA and is currently a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“He’s going to LSU, we’re not even bringing him on a visit,” Miller tells Dawkins. “He’s not even going to visit. That’s all bulls..t. I’m looking at our recruiting board and he’s not even on it. I’ve never talked to the kid. All that f…..g hype-s..t on the phone. He just probably said, ‘f..k you, I want $75(000), I want $120(000). I may go to Arizona’. That’s all that was.”
Dawkins, whose connection to the Arizona coaching staff included a close relationship with Emanuel “Book” Richardson, told Miller that, ‘Will Wade’s driving up the price of p…y. He’s not even doing like real numbers.”
To which Miller responded of Wade: “I give him credit. He’s got a big of balls on him.” Said Dawkins: “Will Wade doesn’t give a f…k, Sean.”
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward released a statement to Geaux247. It said, “We are aware of the documentary first aired on March 31, 2020 on HBO. There is no change to Coach Will Wade’s employment status at LSU and we will continue to cooperate with all reviews into this matter.”
The HBO special, led by Emmy-award winning director Patrick Kondelis, took a behind the scenes look at the FBI’s probe into corruption in college basketball during the 2017-19 – a stretch that involved LSU, Arizona, Louisville, Auburn and USC.
Dawkins was convicted of bribing college assistant coaches to steer players to sign with his management company (Loyd Management, Inc.) and a group of financial advisers. He conspired with Richardson, USC’s Tony Bland and South Carolina/Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans to influence players to help jump-start his fledging agency. Richardson and Evans both received three months in jail, while Bland was sentenced to probation.
After a story of Wade’s alleged involvement surfaced in a report by Yahoo Sports, which provided details of a transcript of an FBI wiretap which Wade was caught making overtures about recruiting a prospect (Smart), the LSU coach was suspended for the last five games of the 2018-19 season when he refused to meet with school administration and the NCAA.
He later met with LSU officials last April 12 and was reinstated two days later after agreeing to an amended contract that would result in his firing if he committed a Level I or Level II NCAA violation or in the event the NCAA infraction committee issued a formal notice to LSU that Wade was involved in a Level I or II violation.
During an earlier portion of the documentary where he’s asked about having any involvement with Dawkins, Wade said, “I or we have never done business of any kind with Christian Dawkins.”