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Adidas Scandal Update: AAU Figure Pleads Guilty

And induces sleepless nights in the Adidas network of schools

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North Carolina State v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 23: Head coach Mark Gottfried talks to Dennis Smith Jr. #4 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their win against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 23, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. North Carolina State won 84-82.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Most of you probably understand the concept of prosecutors flipping people but if you don’t, the idea is that you get one person who is involved in a crime or a criminal conspiracy who can in turn implicate others and you offer them a deal for their testimony.

It usually works and most people take the deal which either keeps them out of prison entirely or cuts their sentence enough to make it worthwhile.

That’s likely to be the case with former AAU coach Thomas ‘T.J.’ Gassnola.

Gassnola was the head of the New England Playaz AAU basketball team which is affiliated with Adidas. There are at least three players who are at issue here: Dennis Smith (NC State) and Billy Preston and Silvio DeSousa (both signed by Kansas though Preston never played, having been held out during the investigation and ultimately leaving school to play abroad).

Gassnola has had a relationship with former agent Andy Miller who the feds allege is at the heart of the conspiracy to funnel money to families of the players.

Presumably he knows a great deal more and is busy informing the prosecutors. It can’t be a very happy time for former State coach Mark Gottfried and his former assistant Orlando Early and most likely for several other coaches at Adidas schools. They might be personally innocent of any wrongdoing as KU’s Bill Self supposedly is, but these are dangerous times for coaches who get swept up in this, guilty or not.

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