ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford said on Friday there is “zero teeth” to an ESPN.com investigative story that, in part, questions his recent hiring of Drew Adams as the Lobos’ director of operations.
The story’s primary focus is on Adams’ father, Mark, who is coach of the prestigious Indiana Elite AAU program and founder of African Hoop Opportunities Providing and Education. It alleges that Mark Adams feeds players to Indiana, and other college programs, for favors — including the hiring of his son, Drew, at Indiana.
The ESPN.com article said Drew Adams left Indiana for UNM “amid questions about Adams’ ties to his father’s foundation and the Indiana Elite program.”
Alford told the Journal, “Drew played for me at Iowa, and getting someone I know and trust in the operations position was important. I couldn’t be more excited about having Drew join our staff.”
Adams was a walk-on player at Iowa for one season under Alford when the latter coached there.
ESPN.com says it’s been investigating the story for five months and questioned why Adams left IU for seemingly a lateral move to New Mexico.
“There was no scrutiny with me or Indiana,” Drew Adams told the Journal. “I’m excited to be working for my collegiate head coach, and joining (Alford) and his staff. I appreciate how coach Alford goes about running his program, and I’m looking forward to the future of New Mexico basketball.’”
As operations director, Adams will coordinate travel for Lobo basketball, spearhead the team’s community efforts and monitor academics, among other duties. The operations director does not coach or recruit.
The job was vacated when Duane Broussard was promoted to an assistant coaching position. Broussard in turn filled the void created when assistant Wyking Jones left UNM for a coaching spot at Louisville.
Chris Monette, UNM’s video coordinator the past three years, was also interested in the UNM operations director position. Monette’s résumé appears to be at least as impressive as Drew Adams’, outside of Adams’ connections with a big-time AAU program.
Monette, 31, was an assistant coach at Garden City (Kan.) Community College and worked as a team manager — including two years as a graduate manager — at UNLV before working as graduate manager one year at New Mexico State.
Before Drew Adams, 26, was hired as IU’s director of basketball operations last year, he spent one season as the program’s video coordinator. Prior to that, Adams was a graduate student manager at Tennessee.
In the ESPN article, Mark Adams spoke about Drew’s hiring at IU, saying his son “has paid his dues. … As a father, I am very proud of what he accomplished in his career.”
The story refers to Alford and New Mexico a number of times because of Alford’s ties with Indiana Elite and his hiring of Adams. It also says Emmanuel Negedu, who played for UNM this past season, lived with Mark Adams for three years.
The article alleges that Mark Adams paid for round trips through A-HOPE for an Indiana recruit — Hanner Mosquera Perea — to go to his native Colombia, provided him a cellphone, gave him a used iPod and bought him a $400 laptop. It says this potentially violates NCAA extra benefits bylaws and could impact the recruit’s initial eligibility at Indiana.
But on Thursday, Mark Adams told the Indianapolis Star: “Nothing is being hidden here. I’ve met with IU’s compliance staff with an outside legal rep there and the NCAA was there via conference call. There hasn’t been any concern addressed with me.”
Alford says the ESPN.com article “is typical of a journalist who thinks he has uncovered something, but after investigating it for over six months, there is nothing to it. So, he has to write an article with zero teeth to it. I pay zero attention to (it).”