Second UConn assistant, agent in contact
University of Connecticut assistant coach Andre LaFleur engaged in two lengthy phone conversations with former student manager turned pro sports agent Josh Nochimson while Nochimson shadowed a blue-chip Huskies recruit in April 2008, Yahoo! Sports has found.
Nochimson and LaFleur traded three phone calls, including conversations of 13 and 44 minutes, during the Kentucky Derby All-Star Festival in Louisville, Ky., phone records show.
Nochimson attended the tournament and, according to an ESPN.com report, was a pervasive presence around recruit Ater Majok, a touted 6-foot-10 forward.
Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that Nochimson made improper contact and provided improper benefits to former UConn guard Nate Miles. Later, the Tampa Tribune and Tampa’s 1010 CBS Sports Radio reported that Nochimson paid several thousand dollars for Miles to have surgery in December 2007.
The NCAA is reviewing the actions of Nochimson and UConn.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said she could not comment on the case specifically but issued the following statement:
“NCAA member institutions and prospective student-athletes share responsibility to provide all applicable information to the NCAA for review during the initial eligibility process. The NCAA Eligibility Center determines a prospective student-athlete’s eligibility to compete in college athletics based on the Association’s academic and amateurism requirements. During this process, the NCAA evaluates all the information provided and reviews further if appropriate. In this instance, the NCAA did not receive the information or any further indications associated to the claims made in the recent Yahoo! story.”
A week after the Derby Classic, Majok visited UConn and signed to play for coach Jim Calhoun. Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland and Baylor had also recruited him heavily.
As a representative of UConn’s athletics interests, Nochimson wasn’t allowed to be a part of the recruiting process, or have any contact with Majok. Several weeks after the April high school star game, Nochimson decertified himself as an NBA agent.
LaFleur wasn’t at UConn when Nochimson was a student manager but had periodic contact with him through 2007 and 2008. Less than a month after Majok, who had lived in the Sudan, Egypt and Australia, arrived at the Heat Academy in Martinsville, Va., LaFleur spent several hours on Dec. 14, 2007 making and taking calls and text messages from Nochimson and Heat Academy coach Jason Niblett.
LaFleur traded five calls and a text message with Nochimson, and five calls with Niblett. Several of the calls from LaFleur to Nochimson and Niblett were sequenced back to back.
Niblett told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday that he’s never spoken with Nochimson.
LaFleur had a 90-minute conversation with Nochimson on Jan. 6, 2008, within a week of LaFleur’s a recruiting trip to Australia to meet with Majok and his family.
Majok attended the American International School in Sydney, and academic-related issues held up his efforts to join UConn’s basketball team. He waited several weeks while the NCAA Clearinghouse reviewed his transcripts, spending part of that time in Washington, D.C.
In January, the clearinghouse designated Majok a partial qualifier. He could practice with the team but could not play for UConn until after fall exams next season.
Majok had broken verbal commitments to Maryland and Baylor before committing to UConn, according to published reports.
LaFleur, who traveled around the world in pursuit of Majok, had a close relationship with Ed Smith, an Australian who served as a coach and mentor for the player. After his family was chased out of a war-torn Sudan, Majok settled in Australia.
Yahoo! Sports obtained the phone records included in its report through the Freedom of Information Act.
Yahoo! Sports staff writer Josh Peter contributed to this report.