Hernandez on bench to start
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.