Friday, January 22, 2021

Clemson Basketball Coach Steve Smith Fired over Zion Williamson Bribery Video

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The Clemson Tigers have fired assistant basketball coach Steve Smith amid the NCAA corruption scandal, according to the Associated Press’ Pete Iacobelli.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Clemson officials announced Friday that the university would not renew Smith’s contract, which expired April 30.

“I support the decision not to renew Steve Smith’s contract,” Tigers head coach Brad Brownell said in a statement, per Borzello.

Borzello noted the college basketball corruption trial revealed Smith discussed recruiting former top recruit Zion Williamson with agent-runner Christian Dawkins, government witness Marty Blazer and an undercover FBI agent.

“I’m meeting with his stepdad,” Smith said of Williamson in the recording, according to Borzello. “Me and his stepdad are going to work it out.”

Dawkins reportedly responded by saying, “We’ll be able to make sure everything’s good for the parent and everything like that.”

Williamson was the No. 1 overall recruit in the state of South Carolina in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports. The 5-star forward ultimately committed to Mike Krzyzewski and Duke, joining fellow prized recruits R.J. Barrett, Tre Jones and Cam Reddish.

As a freshman in 2018-19, Williamson was a consensus All-American and was named the National College Player of the Year.

An FBI wiretap also recorded Smith saying the Tigers’ football program has been successful in recent years because “if you use resources at Clemson, you can really keep everything tight.” Per Iacobelli, Blazer, a financial adviser, testified that he believed Smith was suggesting boosters provided players with improper benefits.

Brownell apologized to Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney following Smith’s comments being made public, according to the Post and Courier‘s Gene Sapakoff.

Smith had been a part of Brownell’s coaching staff for seven years, dating back to 2012. He previously spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Georgia Southern University.

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