A UConn assistant coach said he made Nochimson aware of the Huskies’ recruitment of Miles. Later, the assistant coach said he knew that Nochimson and Miles had talked.
The relationship and UConn’s knowledge of the situation are potential major NCAA violations. The findings are part of Yahoo! Sports’ ongoing look into the changing role of agents and their impact on college basketball. Agents aren’t just recruiting players from college programs, they are recruiting players for them, according to an NCAA official.
Josh Nochimson – Former UConn student manager turned professional sports agent. Provided lodging, transportation, restaurant meals and representation to Nate Miles during UConn’s recruitment of the player. Filed papers with the NBA Players Association to decertify himself as an agent in 2008 after Richard Hamilton accused him of stealing more than $1 million.
Nate Miles Nate Miles – Talented but troubled 6-foot-7 player from Toledo, Ohio who attended five high schools in four states before reaching UConn. Expelled from the Big East school for the violation of a restraining order in October 2008. Currently attending College of Southern Idaho.
Tom Moore Tom Moore – Former UConn assistant coach who pointed out Miles to Nochimson in fall of 2006. Now head coach of Quinnipiac University, a Division-I program in Hamden, Conn.
Sean Patterson – Former Toledo area basketball coach who became Miles’ guardian.
Jerry Easter – Inner-circle advisor who Miles referred to as an uncle. Maintained an active role in Miles’ recruitment.
Jim Calhoun Jim Calhoun – Hall of Fame UConn coach who declared Miles had “as much basketball ability” as any recruit he ever signed. Made 16 phone calls with Nochimson, including a three-minute, 58-second call the week Miles was to make one of his campus visits.
The UConn basketball staff was in constant contact with Nochimson during a nearly two-year period up to and after Miles’ recruitment. Five different UConn coaches traded at least 1,565 phone and text communications with Nochimson, including 16 from head coach Jim Calhoun. Yahoo! Sports obtained the records through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents were requested in October and received two weeks ago. Many of UConn’s communications with Nochimson were clustered with calls and texts to Miles or his inner circle.
UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway and Calhoun declined comment through a university spokesman late Tuesday.
The school issued a statement Wednesday that read, in part: “The University takes very seriously its responsibilities of NCAA membership and will do all that is expected to follow up on any information related to possible NCAA rules violations.”
UConn may have committed major recruiting violations by exceeding NCAA limits on phone calls to Miles and those closest to him, records show. The NCAA allows a single phone call per month to a prospect or his family in a player’s junior year of high school. That limit was exceeded over several months from late 2006 into 2007. In December of 2006, for instance, Tom Moore, then a UConn assistant coach, made 27 calls to Miles’ guardian and a person Miles referred to as an uncle. Moore made three calls to Miles.
The relationship between Miles and Nochimson began at a Nov. 11, 2006 high school tournament in suburban Chicago. While sitting with Nochimson and watching Miles play, Moore told Nochimson that UConn was actively recruiting the player. Later that day, Miles said, he was introduced to Nochimson.
Moore said he knew the player and the agent were in contact after the event. Records show that Moore traded multiple text messages with both Miles and Nochimson in the evenings of Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, 2006.
Eight days later, Miles, a Toledo, Ohio native, committed to UConn. Calhoun later said the sinewy 6-foot-7 prospect had “as much basketball ability” as any player he’d ever brought to Connecticut.
From that first meeting until Miles was expelled from the university in October 2008 for violating a restraining order brought by a female student, Nochimson played an integral role in the player’s life. The agent guided Miles, who had social and academic difficulties, through a jagged journey to Connecticut.
Nochimson filed paperwork with the NBA Players Association to decertify himself as an agent in June 2008 after UConn All-American and Detroit Pistons star Richard Hamilton fired him as his business manager and accused him of stealing more than $1 million.
“He was pretty much running his business as an agent off of me,” Hamilton said.
As an alumnus and former associate of the men’s basketball program, Nochimson is defined by the NCAA as a representative of UConn’s “athletic interests.” As such, NCAA rules say he could “not be involved in the recruiting process” and could “not make any contact, including telephone calls and letters, to a prospect or the prospect’s family, on or off campus.”
Nochimson declined to comment for this story.
Miles is now at the College of Southern Idaho, a junior-college powerhouse, trying to revive his college career. Moore is now the head coach at Quinnipiac University.
In the current climate of college basketball, where agents dip into the prep ranks to secure future professional clients, Nochimson’s is a common tale. Agents increasingly “babysit” or “quarterback” a young prospect through his amateur career, including one season of college basketball, in hopes of landing him as an NBA client. Agents will place a prospect with a specific school where the college coach will reciprocate by delivering the player back once he’s ready to turn pro.
The agent-as-college recruiter is a problem an NCAA official described as “serious.”
“We’re concerned in terms of agents steering certain kids to certain [schools],” said Rachel Newman Baker, the NCAA’s director of agent, gambling and amateurism activity. “We’re concerned about agreements under the table between agents and even our college coaches.”
On the morning of Nov. 11, 2006, Moore and Nochimson attended the Chicago Prep Classic at the J-G Center in Deerfield, Ill. The stands were filled with the usual array of spectators at national high school tournaments – college coaches, agents and runners all blending together.
“Josh’s job was to see who the up-and-coming high school talent was in the country,” Moore said. “That was part of the reason he was there.”
More at…. http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=ys-uconnphone032509