Her­nan­dez on bench to start

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Steven Wine

CO­RAL GABLES — Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes for­ward De­wan Her­nan­dez is sit­ting out the start of the sea­son as the school and the NCAA re­view his el­i­gi­bil­ity in the wake of a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into col­lege bas­ket­ball cor­rup­tion.

The school an­nounced shortly be­fore the tipoff of the team’s opener Fri­day against Le­high that Her­nan­dez would not play, but of­fered no de­tails on the de­ci­sion.

Last month, a fed­eral jury in New York found three men guilty of fraud charges for chan­nel­ing se­cret pay­ment to the fam­i­lies of top-tier re­cruits to in­flu­ence their choices of schools, ap­parel com­pa­nies and agents. The ver­dicts placed the blame on the men for ex­pos­ing the uni­ver­si­ties to NCAA sanc­tions, es­sen­tially por­tray­ing the schools as vic­tims.

But a year ago, an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion that led to the trial raised ques­tions about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Mi­ami pro­gram and ap­parel com­pany Adi­das.

More than two dozen schools have been en­snared in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for ev­ery­thing from pay­ing for meals to six-fig­ure pay­ments to re­cruits’ fam­i­lies. The NCAA is ex­pected to in­ves­ti­gate al­leged rules vi­o­la­tions that came to light dur­ing the trial in New York.

It’s there that Her­nan­dez’s name re­port­edly ap­peared.

Ac­cord­ing to ESPN, Her­nan­dez — who changed his name af­ter play­ing as De­wan Huell at Mi­ami last sea­son — was one of 19 play­ers listed in an email by Chris­tian Dawkins, who worked as a run­ner for NBA agent Andy Miller.

In that email, Dawkins re­port­edly de­tailed plans to pay Her­nan­dez $500 a month from Septem­ber 2017 through Jan­uary 2018, then $1,000 a month un­til April 2018. ESPN also re­ported that if Her­nan­dez — who tested the NBA wa­ters this year but opted to re­turn to Mi­ami — had left school af­ter last sea­son, he wouldn’t have had to pay the money back, ac­cord­ing to the email. But if Her­nan­dez opted to re­turn to the Hur­ri­canes, the pay­ments would have con­verted to a loan.

ESPN re­ported Fri­day there was no ev­i­dence the pay­ments were made or that Her­nan­dez had knowl­edge of the plan.

The ju­nior av­er­aged 11.4 points and 6.7 re­bounds last sea­son and has been ex­pected to be one of the big­gest con­trib­u­tors for the Hur­ri­canes, who lost last year’s lead­ing scor­ers Lon­nie Walker IV and Bruce Brown to the NBA.

Her­nan­dez, a Mi­ami na­tive who changed his name this year from De­wan Huell, was highly re­cruited be­fore join­ing the Hur­ri­canes in 2016. He con­sid­ered turn­ing pro last spring but de­cided to re­turn to Mi­ami for his ju­nior sea­son.

Mi­ami’s De­wan Her­nan­dez — who changed his name af­ter play­ing as De­wan Huell last sea­son — has been ex­pected to be one of the big­gest con­trib­u­tors for the Hur­ri­canes.

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