University of Kansas

Louisville recruit’s dad: Adidas offered $100K because that’s what KU’s Billy Preston got

The father of a former Louisville basketball recruit testified in federal court Thursday that he was told former Kansas forward Billy Preston was given $100,000 to attend KU.

Brian Bowen Sr., during testimony to a jury in New York, said his son Brian Bowen Jr. originally had an offer of $60,000 to $80,000 from Christian Dawkins and Adidas to attend Louisville. Bowen Sr. then said he was told by Dawkins that the offer was increased to $100,000 because that was the amount Preston received to attend KU, according to Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel.

Bowen’s testimony appears to line up with the superseding indictment against Dawkins and Adidas executives James Gatto and Merl Code, which alleged in April that Gatto “conspired to illicitly funnel approximately $90,000 from Company-1 (Adidas) to the mother of a top high school basketball player.” The indictment goes on to say ”the payments were made in connection with a commitment by the student-athlete to attend the University of Kansas, a school sponsored by (Adidas) and with the expectation that the student-athlete would sign with (Adidas) upon entering the NBA.”

On Thursday, KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony directed a request for comment to KU director of strategic communications Joe Monaco. When reached, Monaco said, “It is not appropriate for the university to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing. As we have said all along, the prosecution has not suggested any wrongdoing by the university or its coaches. We will continue to cooperate as requested throughout the trial.”

The name of current KU forward Silvio De Sousa has also been mentioned during this week’s trial. In opening statements, the defense claimed that De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, received $20,000 from Adidas to pay back a previous offer and switch De Sousa’s commitment from Maryland to KU. The defense stated that Falmagne had previously received $20,000 from Under Armour to ensure De Sousa’s commitment to Maryland.

In an interview with The Star in April, Falmagne denied that he received any payment, saying, “He (Silvio) did not take any money. We did not take any money. The kids and I never took money from anyone.”

De Sousa, who returns to KU for his sophomore season after helping the Jayhawks reach the Final Four, posted a Twitter message for the first time in five weeks Thursday. It said: “The picture that I paint with my pen, that’s my truth. But the picture the others paint, that’s theirs.”

Bowen Sr.’s testimony on Thursday, according to Wetzel, also mentioned two other Big 12 schools. Bowen Sr. said that Dawkins told him that Oklahoma State offered Bowen Jr. $150,000 and $8,000 for a car if he attended the school, along with an undisclosed amount to buy a house.

Bowen Sr. also said that Texas offered to assist with housing costs if his son gave a commitment.

Earlier this week, four KU administrators were listed as potential witnesses in the trial: KU chancellor Douglas Girod, deputy athletic director Sean Lester, senior director of compliance Jeff Smith and senior athletic director for compliance David Reed. Those four could be called upon as witnesses for the government, with Wetzel reporting earlier this week that the prosecution “is expected to lean on a witness list featuring numerous school compliance directors who will show universities work aggressively to avoid NCAA violations and thus were defrauded by the defendants.”

In late January, Preston signed a contract with BC Igokea of Bosnia, ending a long process of him waiting for his amateur status to be cleared by the NCAA.

Preston, who sat out KU’s first game last year for missing curfew and class according to coach Bill Self, was not allowed to play KU’s next game against Kentucky on Nov. 15 while the school looked into the “financial picture” regarding his vehicle after a one-car accident on campus. Preston sat out the next 16 games while the situation was being investigated and never appeared in a regular-season game for the Jayhawks.

Preston’s mother, Nicole Player, has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Jesse Newell

Jesse Newell covers University of Kansas athletics for The Star.