Jim Larranaga: 'I am Coach-3' in FBI college basketball probe

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 4:41 PM

Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes looks on during the game against the Buffalo Bulls  during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes looks on during the game against the Buffalo Bulls during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

University of Miami coach Jim Larranaga said his legal team believes he is “Coach-3,” as noted in the Department of Justice report about the FBI investigation into college basketball’s underbelly.

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“I am grateful we have come to that conclusion,” said Larranaga, “as I know I did nothing wrong, and it is comforting to know none of my assistants are connected in any way.” He added that the U.S. attorney’s office has not confirmed the identity of “Coach-3.”

In a news conference at the Watsco Center, Larranaga addressed the media for the first time since the Sept. 26 complaint was unveiled in New York. Uncharacteristically, he read from a prepared statement. He fielded questions afterward from reporters about the emotional impact, but referred all inquiries about the investigation to his statement, which said he appreciated that the media had a job to do, but that he would not offer comment.

Larranaga’s full statement: 

Jim Larranaga reads from a prepared statement on his involvement in the FBI investigation into college basketball's underbelly.

Posted by Post on Miami Hurricanes on Monday, October 23, 2017

“I cannot state more emphatically that I absolutely have no knowledge of any wrongdoing by any member of our staff and I certainly have never engaged in the conduct that some have speculated about,” Larranaga said, holding a piece of paper with both hands.

“I have tried to live every single one of my 68 years on this earth with integrity, character, and humility. … To have those values that I cherish so dearly even questioned, is disheartening and disappointing.”

“Coach-3,” in the FBI report, was said to know about an Adidas executive and others conspiring to funnel some $150,000 to a 2018 recruit, later learned to be Orlando-based five-star wing Nassir Little. Little and his father signed statements, provided to The Post by Larranaga’s legal team, saying they accepted no money, never discussed payment with any of the men charged, and they and Miami did nothing wrong.

>> Related: Auburn, Oklahoma State, USC coaches among 10 charged with corruption

Asked about his relationship with former Adidas executive Jim Gatto, who was one of 10 men indicted by the FBI on conspiracy and fraud charges, Larranaga declined to comment, referring to the statement.

“It’s been a strain, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” Larranaga said. “It’s something that’s there. I have to deal with it. I have the support of my wife and a wonderful family. I have the support of the university, my staff and players.”

Both Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown, the two players Miami made available to the media, said they were not aware of the details of the investigation. They said practice has been as usual, and they’ve noticed no change in their coach.

“Around us, ‘Coach L’ isn’t going to show he’s hurt,” Newton said. “He’s so happy to be around us.”

Larranaga said he briefed his players on Sept. 26, along with UM Athletics Director Blake James.

10 Charged With Corruption In College Basketball

“They have nothing to do with this,” Larranaga said. “It hasn’t been talked about since.”

Asked how the investigation has affected recruiting, Larranaga said it has been a negative, but his staff is “very strong and resilient, and we’ll figure out a way to recruit successfully.”

UM does not have a verbal commitment for 2018. It had an official visit set up the weekend of Sept. 9 with five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley, but it was canceled when Hurricane Irma forced UM to evacuate the campus.

Asked if he has received messages of support from colleagues, Larranaga answered, “Yes.”

Asked if that has helped, Larranaga answered with the same flat, “Yes.”

Report: 3 UCLA basketball players to return to US after Chinese officials drop charges

Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 2:25 PM

FILE - UCLA NCAA college basketball players, Liangelo Ball, left, and Cody Riley are shown in these file photos. The UCLA basketball team is heading back to Los Angeles without three players arrested on shoplifting charges in China, according to a report. Citing sources, ESPN reports freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were to remain in Hangzhou, China. UCLA won its season-opening game 63-60 over Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Saturday. (AP Photo/File)
AP
FILE - UCLA NCAA college basketball players, Liangelo Ball, left, and Cody Riley are shown in these file photos. The UCLA basketball team is heading back to Los Angeles without three players arrested on shoplifting charges in China, according to a report. Citing sources, ESPN reports freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were to remain in Hangzhou, China. UCLA won its season-opening game 63-60 over Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Saturday. (AP Photo/File)(AP)

The three UCLA basketball players previously detained by Chinese police on shoplifting allegations were being allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday, according to a report by The Washington Post.

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LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were questioned and arrested by police after being accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, China. The three players were released on bond Wednesday and did not play in Friday’s game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China.

>> Related: LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

The report of the players’ release comes hours after President Donald Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the players’ case.

“They’re working on it right now... Hopefully everything is going to work out,” Trump told reporters on his tour of Asia, according to the Washington Post.

China Sports Insider reported Tuesday the charges of shoplifting were officially dropped for all three players.

Tar Heels return home with 6th NCAA title to celebrating fans

Published: Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 5:40 PM

Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels receives the Championship trophy after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 71-65 in the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. 
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels receives the Championship trophy after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 71-65 in the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

North Carolina dedicated the past year to redeeming itself for 4.7 agonizing seconds.

Now these Tar Heels will hang another banner from the Smith Center rafters. Or the ceiling. But probably not the roof.

No longer haunted by the memory of a buzzer-beating loss in last year's title game, but galvanized by a misstatement from their most decorated former player, the Tar Heels returned home Tuesday with their sixth NCAA Tournament trophy, which they earned a night earlier by beating Gonzaga in the championship game.

"This year," senior Isaiah Hicks said, "we did it."

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Thousands of fans poured into the arena and onto the court before the team's flight had even landed at nearby Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and they cheered fanatically every time live footage of the team's motorcade was shown on the video scoreboards.

When the individual players were introduced, they showered Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Justin Jackson with chants of "one more year."

"It just didn't seem like we were going to get back to where we wanted to be, and you all did a great job," said guard Joel Berry II, still wearing the net from the title game around his neck. "We just basically did our thing, and we came back home with it."

This was the first time the team and its fans were together inside the Smith Center since a victory over Duke in the regular-season finale exactly one month earlier — a night made memorable by Michael Jordan's surprise appearance at halftime to announce a partnership between the athletic department and his Nike line.

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Dayton sports columnist’s mustache gets national airtime

Published: Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 4:13 AM



Dayton.com
(Dayton.com)

Tom Archdeacon is usually writing news, not making it, but he caught some airtime and the attention of one writer covering the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis on Friday.

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The longtime Dayton Daily News columnist drew attention from USA Today’s The Big Lead for his “glorious mustache.” While sitting behind CBS’ Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill, Archdeacon was on television and caught the notice of Kyle Koster from TBL.

“There was much to discuss at the top of the broadcast before tip-off and the trio did a nice job setting things up. Or so I guess. It was quite difficult to pay attention with Tom Archdeacon’s impressive mustache lurking in the background,” Koster said. It’s a tough look to pull off, but the Dayton Daily News “old-school storyteller” is doing just that. The Big Lede posted a link to Archdeacon’s archive of award-winning columns.

Archdeacon has made headlines before — he won the Society of Professional Journalists Sports Columnist of the Year in 2012 and 2013, beating out competition from national outlets like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus cheers on son in college game

Published: Saturday, March 11, 2017 @ 2:25 AM
Updated: Saturday, March 11, 2017 @ 2:25 AM


            
            Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an actress and producer, but Thursday night she was a mom and a basketball fan.

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Louis-Dreyfus’ son, Charlie Hall, plays for Northwestern University. Toward the end of the Wildcats’ 81-63 victory against Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament, ESPN2 focused a camera on Louis-Dreyfus as Hall entered the game.

Hall didn’t score any points, but he did grab two rebounds, and viewers were treated to a split-cam version of the rebound and Louis-Dreyfus cheering the play.

Hall did not get into Friday night’s game, but Northwestern continued to advance in the tournament with a 72-64 quarterfinal victory against Maryland. The Wildcats (23-10), reaching the conference tournament semifinals for the first time, will play Wisconsin at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.