A week after Miami confirmed that one of its assistant coaches and a player it recruited were under investigation by the FBI due to a probe into bribery and corruption in college basketball, Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga, through his attorney, insisted that he is innocent.
According to a report by Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald, Larranaga’s attorney, Stuart Grossman, said that Larranga is going over his phone records and other documents with the university counsel. He expects Larranaga to be exonerated.
“Coach L has done absolutely nothing wrong, and neither have his assistants,” Grossman told the Herald. “Never was he approached about a payment. He never spoke to any recruit or adidas representative about a payment. If someone used his name, it was done in vain.”
The FBI findings released last week describe multiple phone calls between an assistant coach and others about a proposed $150,000 payment to a Miami recruit. The findings do not explicitly name Miami nor the coach, however the school has confirmed that it is the “University-7″ described in the findings.
Grossman told the Herald that there is nothing to hide about those phone calls.
“It is common knowledge that coaches speak to AAU coaches, and to their sponsors, as part of the recruiting process,” Grossman said. “That’s the way business is done. The contents of all those conversations were purely legal and about basketball, not about bribes.”
The recruit in question, identified in the findings as “Player-12,” is believed to be 5-star small forward Nassir Little. Little is expected to release his college decision Wednesday evening.
While the investigation has likely hurt Miami’s chances of landing Little, Larranaga simply hopes his name is cleared in time to avoid causing a distraction this season.
“Coach L has no idea what this matter is about, other than what he read in the complaint, and he believes none of his assistants were involved in any wrongdoing whatsoever,” Grossman said. “We hope for a swift conclusion in this matter, but dealing with the government takes time.”
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