Lamont Evans pleads guilty to bribery charge

A third former college basketball coach accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to steer players to certain financial advisers and managers once they turned pro pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy bribery charge Wednesday in New York.

Former South Carolina and Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans, who was accused of accepting $22,000 in bribes, entered the plea in New York federal court to conspiring to commit bribery. He admitted receiving $22,000 to steer players at South Carolina and Oklahoma State to certain financial advisers and business managers, attorney Johnny McCray said.

Evans also agreed to forfeit the bribe money he received from two financial advisers as part of the deal he signed Wednesday.

"I now know that accepting those funds in exchange for introducing them to any one player was wrong and violated the law,'' he said.

Sentencing was set for May 10 on a charge that carries the potential for up to five years in prison, though a plea agreement between Evans and prosecutors recommends no more than two years behind bars.

Judge Edgardo Ramos also warned that he could be deported because he is a citizen of Barbados, though he lives in Florida. He was a resident of Stillwater, Oklahoma, at the time of his arrest.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement that Evans abused his position as a mentor and coach for personal gain.

"A scheme Evans apparently thought was a slam dunk actually proved to be a flagrant foul,'' he said.

"He accepted responsibility for what happened," McCray said. "He will be making a vigorous appeal for the lowest sentence possible,"

Two other former assistant coaches -- Arizona's Emanuel "Book" Richardson and USC's Tony Bland -- have already pleaded guilty to the same charge. The trio was arrested in September 2017 as part of the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption.

The two men accused of bribing the coaches -- former Adidas consultant Merl Code and Christian Dawkins, a runner for former NBA agent Andy Miller, are scheduled to go on trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in April.

Code, Dawkins and Adidas executive James Gatto were convicted of federal fraud charges in October for funneling money from Adidas to the parents and/or guardians of high-profile recruits to steer them to sign with Adidas-sponsored schools, including Kansas, Louisville and NC State. They are scheduled for sentencing in that case March 5.

Former Auburn assistant Chuck Person and former NBA referee Rashan Michel are scheduled to go to trial in June. Person is accused of soliciting and accepting $91,500 in bribes from an undercover cooperating witness to influence Auburn players to sign with certain financial advisers.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach contributed to this report.