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Shane Heirman has been accused of paying Brian Bowen II to play for his high school team prior to coming to DePaul.

Shane Heirman has been accused of paying Brian Bowen II to play for his high school team prior to coming to DePaul.

Richard Bodee | The DePaulia

Richard Bodee | The DePaulia

Shane Heirman has been accused of paying Brian Bowen II to play for his high school team prior to coming to DePaul.

Heirman linked to convicted agent’s phone records

DePaul assistant men’s basketball coach Shane Heirman was accused of paying former five-star recruit Brian Bowen II’s father to attend La Lumiere High School during testimony in the trial of sports agent Christian Dawkins and two Adidas executives last month. Now, phone records link Heirman to Dawkins, who handled Bowen II’s recruitment, after he was hired by the Blue Demons.

Dawkins’ phone records show a series of calls linked to Heirman’s phone number beginning May 10, 2017, according to an Outside the Lines analysis of the convicted sports agent’s phone records. Heirman joined DePaul’s coaching staff eight days earlier.

Testimony during the trial revealed that Heirman paid Brian Bowen II’s father to play for La Lumiere High School in La Porte, Indiana, before Heirman joined DePaul’s staff. Dawkins phone records now show he and Heirman were in contact after Heirman started working in Lincoln Park.

“DePaul University takes seriously the high standards of conduct expected in our athletics department,” a university spokesperson said in a statement. “To date, federal prosecutors have not contacted us about the investigation into college basketball recruiting or statements included in testimony in recent weeks in federal court in the Southern District of New York. We will fully cooperate if contacted in the future by federal law enforcement, the Department of Justice or the NCAA.”

The university has responded to a request for comment with identical statements every time the program or DePaul coaches were mentioned during the trial. The athletic department told the DePaulia last week that no changes have been made to the coaching staff, backing up comments from head coach Dave Leitao earlier this fall that Heirman would “absolutely” be on staff this season despite testimony from Bowen II’s father.

Outside the Lines obtained phone records spanning May 3, 2017 to July 2, 2017. The records show contact with a number of coaches at a handful of schools — including Creighton, Arizona, Louisville, Oregon and DePaul — all looking to recruit Bowen II.

In August, court records showed a text message from Louisville head coach Rick Pitino to a former assistant coach alleging that DePaul offered $200,000 to Bowen Sr. for his son’s services.

“Coach DePaul [sic] trying to pay Bowen 200 k to come here. Crazy world!” Pitino wrote.

Just hours after the text found its way into the news cycle, Pitino said the text was a joke stemming from a baseless rumor. Rick Carter, a former associate head coach at DePaul, tweeted that no money was ever offered by DePaul and that the Blue Demons tried to hire coaches familiar to Bowen II in order to draw him to DePaul.

Mark Lennihan | AP
Former sports agent Christian Dawkins walks into the courthouse on Oct. 25.

“I said to [Pitino’s former assistant coach] Kenny Johnson on the phone, ‘I don’t believe a word of it,’” Pitino told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Where would DePaul get $200,000 to pay Brian Bowen? There’s no truth to what this guy said. He’s a nobody in the business. He hates DePaul, this guy.”

Pitino was fired from the University of Louisville shortly after news broke that Bowen Sr. accepted $100,000 to have his son enroll there.

“DePaul conducted a thorough review of its men’s basketball program after the federal investigation into corruption and bribery in college basketball was made public in September 2017,” a university spokesperson said in a statement to The DePaulia after Leitao spoke to the media last month. “We will continue to monitor the legal proceedings and review any further developments and of course will fully cooperate if contacted in the future by federal law enforcement, the Department of Justice or the NCAA.”

Bowen II was one of DePaul’s top targets in the 2017 recruiting class, alongside his former high school teammate Tyger Campbell. Over Leitao’s second term with the Blue Demons, his program has developed something of a rapport with the La Lumiere, rostering five players over the last two years. Ultimately, Leitao gave the school’s head coach, Heirman, a job on his own staff — a move that was widely viewed as a means of courting Bowen II and Campbell.

In early spring of 2017, Bowen II toured DePaul’s campus on an unofficial visit, but ultimately made an out-of- the-blue commitment to The University of Louisville after they entered the fold late in his recruiting process. Bowen II left Louisville shortly after the scandal went public, made a brief stop at The University of South Carolina and now plays professionally in Australia.

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