This story, originally published Oct. 16, has been updated to include a response from Will Wade regarding his involvement in the case.
LSU basketball coach Will Wade’s name came up during a federal criminal case involving pay for play schemes and corruption in college basketball as attorneys for the defendants unsuccessfully attempted to introduce evidence that included a wiretap recording involving Wade.
The recording — which was not played in the courtroom but had its transcript read by attorney Casey Donnelly — allegedly involve Wade and defendant Christian Dawkins speaking about 2019 prospect Balsa Koprivica, a 7-foot center from Florida, according to reports.
“OK. But there’s other (expletive) involved in it,” Wade allegedly said during the phone call involving Koprivica, the date of which was not released. “I have got to shut my door … Here’s my thing: I can get you what you need, but it’s got to work.”
Blessed to say I have received an offer from LSU pic.twitter.com/IEcRgMeals
— Balsa (@balsa_koprivica) June 22, 2017
The recording was one of multiple pieces of potential evidence presented by defense attorneys that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan denied.
A day after his name was mentioned during the trial, Wade responded to the reports when asked about it on a panel hosted by the SEC Network during its broadcast of SEC Basketball Media Day.
“Well, I don’t want to react to what a defense attorney said yesterday,” Wade said. “I get it, and I understand the judge didn’t let it in.
“What I will say is I am very proud of everything I’ve don as the LSU basketball coach. I have never, ever, done any business of any kind with Christian Dawkins.”
LSU athletics director Joe Alleva released a statement regarding the reports, stating the program will act in compliance with the NCAA, and showing support and belief in Wade in his denials.
“We are, of course, aware of information presented in court yesterday and widely reported in the media,” the statement reads. “At the moment, that information is a snipped of a conversation in an active federal case. We stand ready, as always, to work with the NCAA on this and all matters in our constant effort to ensure compliance in all athletic programs. We are and will continue to be an athletic department committed to integrity and excellence.
“I believe Will Wade is building a program marked by those characteristics even as he leads this team through tragedy. He is a smart and driven coach who works as hard as anyone in college athletics. I am excited to see where he leads this program for years to come.”