Roy Williams to ESPN: Nike ‘never helped me’ recruit a player

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams talked about the FBI investigation into fraud and corruption in college basketball in an exclusive interview with ESPN on Monday.

That investigation, which resulted in 10 arrests and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich being placed on leave from their jobs, put a spotlight on shoe companies’ influence on college basketball after an Adidas employee was linked to funneling money to a recruit.

Williams told ESPN that Nike has never helped him in securing a player.

“They’ve never helped me get any player, never insinuated, never done anything,” Williams told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman in an exclusive interview.

Williams added that he’s dealt with Nike and Jordan Brand since he returned to North Carolina from Kansas, but “we never even discuss things like that,” he said.

Williams told Goodman he was “stunned” when he heard the news about the basketball scandal, which included four assistant coaches and two people affiliated with Adidas being arrested.

“This is a whole different level we’re talking about here,” Williams said. “This is a different level that should have some people being scared to death.”

Williams told Goodman that, despite the FBI report last week, the positives outweigh the negatives in college basketball.

“I know it looks really bad,” Williams said. “I don’t know. I don’t enjoy that part. But to paint the entire college basketball world like this I don’t think it’s fair either because I don’t think that’s what the entire college basketball world is all about. But it was just a shock to me.”

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