Ex-Toreros star part of game-fixing indictment

A former University of San Diego star basketball player, another former player and a former assistant coach were charged with running a sports betting business to affect the outcome of games, federal authorities said Monday.

The indictment names Brandon Johnson, the school’s all-time leading scorer, who finished his college career last year; Thaddeus Brown, an assistant coach at the school in the 2006-07 season; and Brandon Dowdy, who played at USD in the 2006-07 season and at UC Riverside from 2008 to 2010. Seven other people also were charged.

Authorities did not say how the alleged scheme worked and were trying to determine its scope, including the number of games allegedly involved.

The indictment alleges that Johnson, 24, took a bribe to influence a Toreros’ game in February 2010 and solicited someone else in January to affect the outcome of USD basketball games while he was playing for the Dakota Wizards in the NBA development league.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy didn’t name the USD opponent in the February 2010 game, saying only that Johnson was the Toreros’ starting point guard at the time.

Johnson “was intricately involved in both the illegal gambling business and in the sports bribery schemes,” Duffy said at a news conference.

According to the Los Angeles Times website, Duffy said the scheme involved gamblers fixing games so that they could make a profit by betting on those games in Las Vegas.

There was no attorney listed for Johnson in court documents.

The indictment, handed up Friday by a federal grand jury in San Diego and unsealed Monday, alleges that Brown, 32, of El Cajon, and Dowdy, 22, of San Diego, solicited someone to affect the outcome of a game in February. Authorities said the game was at UC Riverside.

Authorities said USD was fully cooperating and was not accused of any wrongdoing. Duffy and Keith Slotter, head of the FBI’s San Diego office, met Monday with school officials.

USD, a small, Catholic school that plays in the West Coast Conference, said it informed the NCAA of the probe Monday.

The investigation evolved from a probe of a marijuana distribution operation that began about a year ago, Slotter said.

■ CONNECTICUT — The school called a news conference for today with junior guard Kemba Walker expected to announce that he will enter the NBA Draft.

Walker, who led the Huskies to their third national championship, is projected as a first-round pick, and coach Jim Calhoun has advised Walker to forgo his senior season. But with an NBA lockout looming, Walker has so far left his options open.

■ FLORIDA — Coach Billy Donovan suspended forwards Erik Murphy and Cody Larson after they were arrested and charged with breaking into a car.

Donovan said he is “very disappointed with the news” and the players have been suspended from “basketball-related activities.” Donovan said he will not comment further until he gets more information and meets with the players.

Police said witnesses spotted Murphy and Larson breaking into a car outside a restaurant/bar. The car owner reported nothing missing.

■ BAYLOR — Freshman standout Perry Jones is staying in school. Long expected to be the Bears’ first one-and-done player, Jones instead said he will return to Baylor for his sophomore season.

The 6-foot-11-inch forward was the Bears’ highest-rated recruit and played up to the expectations. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds while starting 30 games, a Baylor freshman record.

Jones will miss the first five games next season as part of an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits before he enrolled at Baylor.

■ TENNESSEE — Former director of basketball operations Ken Johnson provided two free tickets to the mother of an athlete in March, a secondary NCAA violation that ultimately played a role in his firing and the firing of coach Bruce Pearl and his staff.

Tennessee detailed the secondary violation in a March 25 letter to the Southeastern Conference released to The Associated Press on Monday. The name of the athlete was blacked out.

The athlete had already given away the four complimentary tickets he was allowed when the two additional tickets were requested. The athlete repaid the $60 value of the two tickets, and the payment was donated to charity.

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