Giacoletti, Others Respond; Eight Players Linked To Salinas' Money

Based on the culling of Houston Select's archive of past rosters, here are eight players with direct links to Salinas' firm. Each of these Select players chose to attend a school with a coach who was investing money with Salinas at the time. 

This is by no means a complete list, but rather a starting point for anyone out there that wants to look at this a little bit more thoroughly. As the names of more investors come out, I'll add to it as necessary.

(From left to right: Recruiting Class, Name, Team, Coach/Investor, Date of Commitment)

2008

Demetri Goodson

Gonzaga

Ray Giacoletti (Ast)

10/2/07

2007

Alonzo Edwards

Nebraska

Doc Sadler

10/1/06

2006

Chris Hagan

Rice

Willis Wilson

3/5/06

2005

Henry Dugat

Baylor

Scott Drew

8/10/04

2004

Jawann McClellan

Arizona

Lute Olsen

7/8/03

1998

Louis Truscott

Nebraska

Danny Nee

1997-1998

1997

Rodney Williams

Nebraska

Danny Nee

1996-1997

1997

Justin Wiggins

Tulsa

Billy Gillispie (Ast)

1996-1997

 

A ninth Houston Select player, John Robinson, who initially went to New Mexico as part of their 1998 recruiting class, transferred to Danny Nee's Nebraska team around the time of Nee's departure in 2000.

more after the jump...

You'll see Ray Giacoletti on this list, of course, because he was on Gonzaga's coaching staff at the time Demetri Goodson committed to Gonzaga. The coaches listed in this table are the members of the coaching staff who had money with Salinas at the time of the player's commitment to their team. They were not necessarily the primary recruiters for each player.

Indeed, as we reported yesterday, Leon Rice has been credited in the past with taking the lead role in Goodson's recruitment.

Gonzaga's Sports Information Department emailed a statement to a few official television and print media outlets yesterday in response to those outlet's requests for comment on Giacoletti's involvement. The response included a quote from Giacoletti, which read:

Obviously this is a tragic event. I've known David and his family and invested with him for the past 22 years. My heart goes out to his family and friends. It is my understanding the matter has been referred to the Securities and Exchange Commission for investigation.

Gonzaga's response comes amidst a trickle of mixed, if not conspicuous reaction. 

This morning, former Houston Cougars coach Tom Penders, gave The Daily's Dan Wolken the goods on Salinas from an assumedly close-by-but-innocent perspective.

From the Wolken piece:

Penders, now retired, told The Daily that Salinas solicited him for a $100,000 investment in their first meeting and "made a strong, strong implication" that it would help Houston gain access to prospects that were part of the Houston Select, an AAU program that Salinas founded.

Penders continues:

I told him, I'd like to have a good relationship and I'll go watch your teams play,'" Penders said. "But I just thanked him and told him I don't think I can get involved.

I'm just glad I never invested with him. Coaches are supposed to be street smart. I just can't believe guys wouldn't know that was against the rules. It's beyond me.

Then this morning, initial story-breaker Gary Parrish of CBS Sports revealed Danny Nee's outright lie to the Omaha World-Herald alleging his non-involvement with Salinas.

Parrish cites a brochure for Select Asset Management (they even named the team after the freaking investment firm), a firm ran by Salinas' Houston Select co-founder Brian Bjork and under the umbrella of Salinas' J. David Financial Group. The advertising brochure has a direct quote from Nee in which he states that he is a client of Select Asset Management.

Penders' befuddled honesty and Nee's unthruths illustrate the already prickly nature of the Pandora's box Goodman and Parrish opened on Sunday night. Coaches who turned down involvement with Salinas are shocked that others did not do the same. Coaches who were involved with Salinas are trying to cover it up.

Giacoletti, on the other hand, straddles the line between either response.

His quote maintains that he started investing with Salinas in 1989. Giacoletti would have been 27 years old then, just starting out as an assistant to (eventual University of Washington coach) Bob Bender at Illinois State.

It's not implausible that a young coach would begin to invest at that age. But beyond plausibility, Giacoletti clearly noted the length of their professional relationship in order to establish a timeline of being involved with Salinas before he started funding AAU programs. The exact date that Salinas founded Houston Select is unclear, but the widest possible estimate puts it between 1992 and 1995.

For purposes of establishing his initial intent as an investor - and nothing more - Giacoletti's statement is wise.

For purposes of establishing the credibility of his conscience and common sense, it's really unwise. Now he has to answer a question that has zero plausible answers:

Once Salinas started cultivating and promoting Houston Select teams, how did it not dawn on you for at least 16 years that investing money with an AAU Booster was a terrible, illegal, and potentially career-ruining idea?

Tom Penders certainly recognized this reality and stayed away from it. Other coaches presumably did as well.

The gravity of the situation is raised now because Salinas' pattern of behavior has been established - the guy clearly solicited at least one coach to do business with him in exchange for funneling players his way. It's very likely that Penders was not the only person solicited, either.

If this investigation continues its course Giacoletti will have to explain why he never found another investment advisor, and whether or not Salinas ever approached him in the same manner he approached Penders.

I feel like that's an explanation none of us want to hear.

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