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New Report Names Middleman in Will Wade Recruiting Call Wiretaps

FBI wiretaps reportedly recorded LSU coach Will Wade discussing recruiting offers made to third parties in a 2017 phone call.

The middleman discussed in a 2017 phone conversation between LSU head basketball coach Will Wade and former Adidas consultant Christian Dawkins has been identified in a report from Yahoo! Sports.

In the phone conversation intercepted by the FBI, Wade reportedly mentioned someone named "Shannon" while discussing a "strong-ass offer" made to a third party in relation to a recruit. Multiple sources confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that the person in question is Shannon Forman. The outlet also reviewed documents that allegedly showed a link between him and Dawkins.

Yahoo! Sports reviewed an email Dawkins sent to ASM Sports president Andy Miller and three ASM employees on Aug. 20, 2016, where he gave updates on eight players, including LSU standout guard Javonte Smart.

"I met with ... Shannon Forman, who has Javonte smart [sic]," Dawkins said in the email, reports Yahoo Sports. "[Forman] had two kids in the elite 24 game that have a shot down the line. And he also wants to give us Brandon Sampson."

In a 2017 article, 247 Sports labeled Forman as Smart's "trainer." Smart is considered to be the recruit in question during the 2017 phone call between Dawkins and Wade in which the coach was upset over a third party involved with the recruitment not having accepted his "offer" yet. Wade suggested that a player's verbal committment had been delayed because the third party wasn't offered a big "enough piece of the pie in the deal" that allegedly favored the player and his mother. Wade also referenced "this Smart thing" during the phone call.

Smart was benched ahead of the Tigers' regular season finale against Vanderbilt after reports of the wiretaps first surfaced, but he returned for the SEC tournament. However, LSU suspended Wade indefinitely on March 8 amid the recruiting scandal. Assistant Tony Benford has served as interim coach in Wade's absence, leading the Tigers to an SEC tournament title victory to earn a No. 3 seed in the 2019 NCAA tournament. The Tigers will play Michigan State on Friday night in the Sweet 16 of the tournament.

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When reached by Yahoo! Sports on Thursday, Forman declined to comment and said "right now is not a good time." An LSU official also declined to comment to Yahoo! Sports.

Smart told Yahoo! Sports that he's known Forman "most of my life" but declined to comment about Wade's mention of Forman in the wiretap. 

"I don't know about that," Smart said. "I don't have any comment about that."

Dawkins, Adidas executive Jim Gatto and former Adidas consultant Merl Code were sentenced in early March after being found guilty on several charges last fall in the first trial of the corruption scandal. Gatto received a nine-month prison sentence, while Code and Dawkins were sentenced to six months each.

All three men had been out on bond since October, when a jury found each guilty on all counts of committing wire fraud, as well as charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. October's proceedings marked the first of three federal trials related to the scandal.

A representative for Wade was reportedly notified in February that the coach will be subpoenaed for the second trial in the NCAA college basketball corruption scandal, which is scheduled to begin on April 22.