COLUMBIA — South Carolina coach Frank Martin, as he did in the fall when the FBI's explosive probe into college basketball was announced, was more than happy to comment.
Did former guard P.J. Dozier receive money from an NBA agent while at USC, as was alleged last week in a Yahoo! Sports story?
"I read the same article you read," Martin said Monday. "Was P.J.'s name on those ledgers? I didn't see his name on the ledgers.
"What that family has done for this school and what this school's done for that family, I would be shocked if they would do anything that would go against the integrity, the values that Ray Tanner, Harris Pastides and this university stands for. I would be shocked."
Martin declared his dislike for sports agents during his Monday press conference, saying he doesn't correspond with them and then offering his phone to reporters to prove his point.
"I've got zero, zero dealings with agents. I don't mess with agents, I don't care for agents. I have one and I don't get along with mine,” he said. "You can take my phone, you can take it right now. I'll give you my Kansas State number, you can go through my phone, you'll never find an exchange, text message, email, phone call to any agent other than mine. And I conduct business that way."
Martin said he was sure Dozier eventually would have his moment to speak. Dozier nor his father Perry Dozier have returned messages seeking comment.
The report said that Dozier’s name was among several current and former players listed in a ledger of Christian Dawkins, one of the men arrested in September by the FBI (along with former USC assistant coach Lamont Evans). The report, although it didn’t show the page of the ledger with Dozier’s name on it, said Dozier received $6,115.
Dozier turned pro after last season and while he wasn’t drafted, he is currently playing for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I can tell you he's crushed that his name has been drug into this nonsense," Martin said. "I'd be surprised if he's in the middle of any of this stuff."
Martin realizes that as head coach, he’s ultimately responsible for anything that goes on in his program. He pointed out, though, that he can’t control who comes into Columbia and meets with his players during the offseason, or who players talk to when they’re not in the gym or on campus.
He declared that he never touches the seamy side of college recruiting, and none of his assistants or staffers do, either.
“We went to the Final Four last year, and I’m telling you, we’re clean. Am I perfect? No. Have I made mistakes? Yes,” he said. “But I conduct business the right way and we just went to a Final Four.”
Assistant coach Chuck Martin was also listed in a Yahoo! story about emails from NBA agents to coaches, alleging that Chuck Martin was trying to close the deal on Brian Bowen signing with Indiana, where Martin was working. Bowen is now enrolled at USC.
“Chuck’s a man of family, Chuck’s a man of value, a man of character. I wouldn’t have hired him if he’s got a shady reputation,” Frank Martin said. “Chuck’s not in the middle of this in any way, shape or form.”
Bowen is ineligible to play and when he signed, USC said it was working toward getting him on the court by midseason next year. Martin said last week that USC’s compliance department is working on restoring Bowen’s eligibility but couldn’t say how much progress, if any, has been made.