Carter admits he sent the money but says he was passing it on from Casey (whom Carter had met while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers), not from Bozeman (whom he describes as "a distant friend"—even though Bozeman immediately rattled off Carter's phone number when asked for it last week). "It wasn't going to be a problem for me [to send the money]," says Carter, referring to his status outside the purview of the NCAA. "Would it benefit Bozeman? Yes. But I said to Casey that if Todd found out, there's no way he'd [tolerate] it. He'd turn it in." Carter says he has documents implicating two other schools that bid in the Jelani sweepstakes and offered to show that evidence to SI "if you hold your story and keep me out of it."
Yet, says Casey, who is an Angeleno, "why would I send money all the way to Milwaukee for him to FedEx to LA., when all I had to do was walk across the street? It's crazy. It didn't happen that way."
Aaron Goodwin, a Bay Area agent, represents former Cal stars Kidd and Abdur-Rahim, as well as Seattle Supersonics guard Gary Payton and Sacramento Kings guard Mitch Richmond. Tom Gardner says he believes that Bozeman tried to steer his star players to Goodwin, a charge Bozeman and Goodwin deny. "These accusations have been made before, actually by more credible people than the Gardners," says Goodwin.
Bozeman denies any business connection with Goodwin. And Goodwin concurs. "I've spoken with the NCAA about this," says Goodwin. "I've spoken to Gal officials, and I've spoken to the Pac-10 about these rumors. The bottom line is, Todd and I have no relationship other than that I have represented two players he has coached. We don't hang out. We don't do business. People try to make out that I try to pay players to go to Cal, or I'm paying Todd Bozeman to get players. I don't have time to hang out at Cal."
Nonetheless, while Kidd was a Berkeley freshman, Goodwin's gold Mercedes was often parked in the lot outside Harmon Gym. He would bop in and out of the basketball office, and during the off-season he watched the players play pickup ball.
Goodwin says he would have had no need to get involved in college recruiting. "I just did an $85 million deal for Gary Payton," says Goodwin. "What would I want with high school players?"
While there is no evidence linking Bozeman to Goodwin's good fortune, there is an answer to the question he poses. Kidd and Abdur-Rahim were high school players not too long ago—players so good that neither had to spend more than two years in college before becoming a lottery pick in the NBA draft.
That old Watergate axiom—Follow the money—leads down a trail that, at week's end, went nowhere. If Carter is lying and the money didn't come from Casey, where did it come from? If Carter is telling the truth and the money did come from Casey, where did Casey, who is a middleman and not an agent, get it? "You have to believe there's more to all this than just smoke," says Newell. "There are some agents who are a lot closer to the program than the alumni are. That isn't right. That breeds a lot of problems.
"It all goes back to the cloud that came when they so unceremoniously dumped Lou Campanelli. It was just so strange, being done in midyear, just two weeks after beating UCLA at UCLA."
Hours before Bozeman stepped down, SI reached Campanelli. He's in Tokyo now, coaching in a Japanese league. For the first time since his firing, he spoke publicly about the school that had let him go. On the other end of the line, his composure cracked as he said, "They carved out a piece of my heart. Let them just bury themselves. They've made their nest. Let them lie in it. As you sow in life, so shall you reap."