So last night The Scheme, a documentary all about the investigation into college hoops, debuted on HBO. I actually watched it a couple times now just to make sure I wasn't missing anything and while it may seem like a crazy documentary, it was actually a pretty big letdown. If you hadn't paid attention to what was going on or forgot all about the investigation, it's a good watch.
The documentary focuses on Christian Dawkins, the man at the center of this investigation. It begins talking about Dawkins upbringing in Saginaw, Michigan - I guess so you know more about him? It was sort of a waste of 30 minutes honestly, because people were tuning in to see how the investigation happened, got fucked up (more on that in a second) and what conversations he had with coaches. It starts on a somber note too with Dawkins and his parents telling the story of Christian's younger brother, a star high school hooper, dying while playing basketball. That part is actually important because Dawkins, as a teenager, became essentially the GM of Dorian's Pride - an AAU team that became the first midwest program to be sponsored by Under Armour.
The other key part of the first 30ish minutes of the doc explains Dawkins rise through his career. He actually started in high school - with Dorian's Pride - but also he created a website that would rank high school players. He was well connected thanks to his dad (coached Draymond Green in high school) and charged college coaches $600 for a subscription. However, no one knew it was him and he even ranked himself at times - hint: he wasn't supposed to be ranked. Dawkins went on to work for Andy Miller - one of the most prominent agents in basketball. He was a 'runner' there - essentially recruiting guys to sign with ASM and doing a lot of legwork. They even had an interview with Fred VanVleet, who explained he signed with Andy Miller because of his relationship with Dawkins.
We finally get into the scheme part. It starts 'UberGate.' The way it's explained is he had Elfrid Payton's credit card in his Uber to set up rides for Payton's family whenever they needed it. When he left ASM he forgot that the credit card was still hooked up to his Uber and used it. Guess that needed to be said. But then we see footage from the FBI's undercover sting, including the meeting on a yacht with Munish Sood, Marty Blazer, Dawkins and undercover agents.
This is where it all starts to really pick up. The undercover agent 'Jeff D'Angelo' was a MESS. He struggled trying to talk to Dawkins on the phone. Dawkins wanted to just pay players family to keep them in a relationship. Obviously the FBI's plan was to pay college coaches instead. It made no sense as Dawkins explained numerous times - but the key here is it's technically defrauding the university if they paid coaches. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo had the perfect line about this all.
Besides the FBI fucking up the investigation. Jeff used funds to gamble in Vegas. There was funds being misused. This whole thing is a mess. It also shows how fucked up this is. This shouldn't be a crime. This has been done for years. It made no sense why the FBI cared about this. Nobody was being hurt in this case. If you want to talk about taxes, fine, I'll listen to that. But that's the takeaway here. This whole thing was a waste of time.
Finally, we get the wiretapped calls of Dawkins talking to Book Richardson (assistant coach at Arizona), Sean Miller (head coach) and LSU's Will Wade.
It wasn't necessarily new information. We had these calls transcribed and talked about in court before. It goes pretty much what the argument is/was. These coaches had an idea of what was going on. It wasn't a secret of coaches paying players and it sure as shit isn't limited to Arizona or LSU. So what can the NCAA do here? Remember they said they were going to watch this and take notes:
I'll assume they try to go after LSU and Arizona now with these tapped calls. But again, they already knew this. There's nothing new in this documentary besides the fact that these assistant coaches that were arrested need to be welcomed back to college hoops. They aren't the ones at fault here and again, this has happened FOREVER. It's ridiculous they were arrested. That said, Dawkins did give us the funniest goddamn line I ever heard:
This was after he got arrested and was waiting in a federal holding cell. His cell mate told him El Chapo was upstairs. Again, just showing how ridiculous this all is.
All in all, it was a good watch to be reminded about the investigation and what happened. But, really, there was nothing new to come out of it besides hearing the wiretapped calls and seeing the investigation from a hidden camera. The NCAA says they were watching and taking notes - there's nothing different they should do. If they want to punish Arizona and LSU they already should be working on that.