Duke’s Zion Williamson mentioned during college basketball corruption trial

A day after Mike Krzyzewski addressed, briefly, the federal investigation into fraud and corruption in college basketball, one of Duke’s top players was mentioned in the trial’s proceedings. On Tuesday, Zion Williamson — the human highlight factory and one of college basketball’s brightest stars — was discussed in a Manhattan courtroom.

Defense attorneys for Merle Code, James Gatto and Christian Dawkins tried — unsuccessfully — to enter multiple wiretapped phone calls as evidence. With the jury out of the courtroom, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan sided with the prosecution; the calls would not be entered as evidence. However, the public is now aware of them.

In one of those calls, which Yahoo Sports has transcribed, Code is on the phone with Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend. On the call, Code and Townsend discuss the recruitment of Williamson — who took an official visit to Kansas on Sept. 30, 2017 — and his father. Townsend led Kansas’ recruitment of Williamson, too, per 247 Sports.

“Hey,” said Townsend, according to a reading by Code’s attorney, Mark Moore. “Between me and you, you know, he asked about some stuff. You know?”

Who is “he?” Zion Williamson’s father, per Moore’s courtroom account.

“I know what he’s asking for,” Code responded. “He’s asking for opportunities from an occupational perspective, he’s asking for cash in the pocket and he’s asking for housing for him and his family.”

According to Sports Illustrated, the phone call took place just 12 days before Code was arrested last September, which is why Kaplan refused to admit the conversation into evidence. The arrest of Code took place on Sept. 26, 2017 — the week before Williamson visited Lawrence.

For Code, Gatto and Dawkins, a verdict is expected to arrive in the next few days. Two more trials are on the horizon, too — one in the winter and another in the spring.


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