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Scorecard December 1, 1997
Edited by Jack McCallum and Hank Hersch
December 01, 1997
Foreman's Last Fight...Picking Through The Mick...Unruly Eagles Fans Beware!...Isiah's Dream Is Dead...NBA's Broadway Connection...Georgia Mascot Steals the Show
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December 01, 1997

Scorecard December 1, 1997

Foreman's Last Fight...Picking Through The Mick...Unruly Eagles Fans Beware!...Isiah's Dream Is Dead...NBA's Broadway Connection...Georgia Mascot Steals the Show

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MUSICAL:

Show Boat

SYNOPSIS:

A work from the 1950s loosely based on the early career of a Boston Celtics ball-handling wizard.

SHOWSTOPPIN' NUMBER: Cooz's Behind-the-Back Blues

MUSICAL:

A Chorus Line

SYNOPSIS:

A bawdy look at the off-the-court nightlife of a pioneering pivotman.

SHOWSTOPPIN' NUMBER: We're Lining Up for Wilt

MUSICAL:

The King and I

SYNOPSIS:

A talented player is doomed to second-class status in the Windy City.

SHOWSTOPPIN' NUMBER: They Call Me Scottie

MUSICAL:

Pippin

SYNOPSIS:

The same talented player reprises his role in an eponymous albeit misspelled production.

SHOWSTOPPIN' NUMBER: I Said My Name Is Scottie, Dammit!

MUSICAL:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

SYNOPSIS:

An NBA superfan en route to a game makes an unscheduled stop at a mental hospital.

SHOWSTOPPIN' NUMBER: Hit the Road, Jack

MUSICAL:

Victor/Victoria

SYNOPSIS:

The wacky adventures of a cross-dressing star keeps a franchise in flux.

SHOWSTOPPIN' NUMBER: Dennis Ain't No Menace

MUSICAL:

Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk

SYNOPSIS:

A brash point guard in the City of Brotherly Love shakes the league's foundation.

SHOWSTOPPIN' NUMBER: That Ain't Carryin', Fool

Was the Fix in at Arizona State?

For more than three years the Arizona State basketball program has been under a cloud because of suspicions that in 1994 some Sun Devils shaved points (SCORECARD, March 17, 1997). Last week law enforcement sources told SI that they expect the starting guards on the '93-94 team, Stevin (Hedake) Smith and Isaac Burton, as well as at least two reputed gamblers to be indicted in early December for their roles in the alleged point shaving.

The probe claimed its first casualty in September, when Bill Frieder, the Arizona State coach since 1989, was forced to resign. Frieder, who has not been implicated in the case—but whose program was also plagued by at least eight arrests of players, on charges ranging from credit card fraud to sexual assault to theft—initially explained his resignation by saying, "Maybe it was time to go." But in an interview with SI last week, Frieder for the first time acknowledged that the point-shaving allegations had toppled him. "I've got four years of negative publicity, and I've lost my job over this thing, and I don't know what's happened still," he said. "It's frustrating."

The picture of what happened could soon be clearer. The sources told SI that testimony in the investigation has revealed that Smith and Burton shaved points in three home games in early 1994: a Jan. 27 victory over Oregon State (in which the Sun Devils were favored by 14½ but won by only six), a Jan. 29 defeat of Oregon (in which Arizona State was favored by 11½ but again won by just six) and a Feb. 19 loss to USC (in which the Sun Devils were a 9-point favorite but were beaten by 12). Smith scored a career-high 39 points against Oregon State—a seeming inconsistency in the point-shaving allegations—yet the sources said that Smith was helping to shave points in that game, and they added that he has been providing information to investigators.

When interviewed by CNN/SI last March, Smith, then playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the CBA, denied any involvement in point shaving; he could not be reached for comment last week. Burton, who last season played pro ball in Australia and recently failed in a tryout with the Golden State Warriors, also could not be reached. His representative, Ed Whatley, said, "He's cooperating with [the FBI], that's all I can say."

SI's sources said the point-shaving scheme was orchestrated by Joseph Gagliano Jr.—a Phoenix man who has described himself as a brokerage manager and investment planner—and was carried out with the help of a member of a campus gambling ring. When Gagliano proposed the scheme to Smith, the sources said, Smith offered to participate if he and two teammates who were to help in the point shaving were paid $100,000 each for every game they shaved. Smith accepted Gagliano's counteroffer of less than half that sum, according to the sources. Gagliano, who is also expected to be indicted, declined comment to SI last week.

Las Vegas sports books normally see about $50,000 in action on an Arizona State basketball game. But according to several sports-book operators and law enforcement officials, a trio of men who had bet a total of more than $1 million on the first three suspect games wagered some $300,000 against the favored Sun Devils before they played Washington on March 5, 1994. There were also wagers on Washington from a wave of college-age bettors; the heavy action caused the line to drop from 11 to 3. (The Arizona Republic reported in August that one gambler bet $1 million, some of it through offshore gambling operations, against the Sun Devils in that game.) Several of the Las Vegas books briefly took the game off the board because the betting pattern raised their suspicions.

Arizona State missed its first 14 shots against the Huskies and led by just two at halftime. But in the second half the Sun Devils pulled away to win 73-55. Smith finished with 13 points, Burton with nine. Media reports that someone—a coach, a university official, a Pac-10 investigator—may have warned at least one team member at halftime that the game was under scrutiny by authorities have been denied by team, school and conference spokesmen.

According to SI's sources, investigators do not yet have enough evidence to indict any other players, but the probe will continue. The sources said that they expect further charges and that some of those charged could be organized-crime figures.

Past Is Prologue

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