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UK assistant coach mentioned in Nike scandal

Posted at 12:02 AM, Aug 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-17 00:02:02-04

LEXINGTON, Ky — According to several sources, including ESPN, an unnamed Kentucky basketball assistant has been mentioned in the Michael Avenatti extortion case. No wrongdoing has been implied.

Avenatti was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in March with attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening to expose the shoe company's alleged improper payments to high-profile players in its grassroots basketball league, the EYBL.

Avenatti has pleaded not guilty, and on Wednesday his lawyers asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges on ground of vindictive and selective prosecution.

Among Avenatti's allegations. Nike EYBL director Carlton DeBose acknowledged in an exchange of text messages with an unnamed assistant coach at Kentucky that Nike was "funneling payments" to high school players through at least 10 different EYBL coaches."

Avenatti's attorney characterized the text exchange as being with a UK basketball assistant, but so far the text messages are not included in the motion to dismiss.