USD basketball star sentenced to prison

by Stephanie Saccente

Former University of San Diego basketball player Brandon Johnson was sentenced to six months in prison on Friday for soliciting team members to fix games. The one-time basketball star reportedly manipulated games while on the team during the 2009-10 season and attempted to the following season when he was no longer attending the school.

According to ESPN, 26-year-old Johnson has the highest profile of the 10 defendants indicted in April 2011. Apart from a game-fixing scheme, he was also involved with an illegal sports gambling operation and marijuana distribution. Johnson is the fifth defendant to be sentenced thus far.

Johnson has denied ever fixing a game he played in, although the U-T San Diego reported that Johnson’s telephone calls, which had been secretly transcribed, possibly implicated him.
“Coach was like, ‘How you ain’t get a shot up,’” Johnson allegedly said in one of the conversations. “I’m in the locker room, like, ‘You can say what you want, but that’s a G ($1,000) right there.’”

The government reported Johnson made between $5,000 and $10,000 for manipulating approximately four games during the 2009-10 season. According to the U-T, after his arrest, Johnson admitted to federal agents that he received several thousand dollars from bettors after games, but was not involved in manipulation.
According to the U-T in a recorded phone conversation of Johnson, he is heard saying, “Wish I woulda did every game.”

After his sentencing on Friday, USD released a statement about the case and how it does not represent the school or its athletic program, according to the U-T.

“The actions documented in the case against Mr. Johnson do not reflect the mission and values of the University of San Diego and our Athletics program,” the statement said, according to the U-T. “We will continue to fully cooperate with the NCAA and will have no further comment on this matter until the NCAA completes its review.”

Since his arrest, Johnson has lost basketball contracts in multiple countries including China, Romania and Venezuela. He hopes to play professionally after serving his sentence, according to the U-T.

Johnson, who currently lives in Jersey Village, Texas, has been ordered to report to prison on May 31.