By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
What Frieder didn't mention was that, after using an athletic-department telephone credit card for 13 months and pleading guilty, Faulkner didn't even bother going to see his probation officer for six months. It was only after Faulkner was threatened with jail time that he began fulfilling the requirements of his probation.
Faulkner is one of Frieder's prize basketball recruits. He is a player that Frieder insists is a model Arizona State student.
They portrayed Faulkner as a highly sought young player from Christ the King High School in Queens, New York. They talked to Wayne Simone, an active high school recruiter. Simone knew Faulkner in the player's formative years.
"His dad was absent," Simone said, "and his mom would let him do what he wanted. Jamal is an honest person, but he lies, if you know what I mean. He lives in a fantasy world, without many responsibilities. . . . He likes to go out, pick up girls, have a good time."
Faulkner was pursued as a basketball prospect by Temple, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Texas.
First he agreed to play for Texas, where he was being recruited by an assistant coach named Dave Miller. Then, at the last minute, Faulkner signed a letter of intent to play for Pittsburgh. But Faulkner never played for Pittsburgh. He failed to meet Proposition 48 requirements, so he ended up at Cheshire Academy, a Connecticut prep school.
Dave Miller left Texas and became a member of Frieder's staff at Arizona State. Miller undertook the pursuit of Faulkner a second time and was successful in signing him up for Frieder.
@body:This pattern of behavior at Arizona State reminds me of the Dan Jenkins satire about the college president who went to the Final Four to see his students perform. In the hotel lobby, he meets one of his players. The story continues:
"Dwoan was a rather touching human-interest story for us, a walk-on who earned a starting position purely on the basis of his height and his police record. When we took Dwoan at our university, I had the pleasure of calling his mother with the good news.
"I'm giving Dwoan a chance to go to college,' I told her on the phone.
"You mean Duane?'
"Uh . . . yes, I suppose it is Duane. It looked very much like Dwoan, the way it was written on his enrollment card.'
"Listen, mister, I don't know where the sorry shit ass is, and I don't care; he's broke my heart for the last time.'
"When I interrupted Dwoan in his room to ask if he was receiving any improper inducements, he looked insulted, hurt, angry."
"What the fuck you doin' here, man?' he said. 'Me and the bitch like to be alone when we shoot up.'"
@body:Watching Harris perform, you have a fantasy. Why doesn't someone stand up and ask the one question that cries out for an airing:
"Charles, why don't you just call Bill Frieder into your office today and fire his ass?
"You know better than everyone else that he's running a basketball program with players so steeped in criminal behavior that he's making every knowledgeable college basketball fan in the country forget about Jerry Tarkanian and Nevada-Las Vegas."
But that question is never asked. We are all too polite. Everyone pretends to believe that Harris is serious about changing things. He can't change anything. Nobody can. It's out of control.
Moreover, nobody wants change. They only want us to go away and stop asking questions. And just how does Harris handle the situation?
"I am embarrassed," Harris says, just oozing sincerity. He even announces a new policy of what he calls "zero tolerance."
And what is Harris going to do about the most recent outbreak of criminal behavior on behalf of some of the basketball team's best athletes?
Harris says he plans to call a meeting with his coaches. They will talk things over. Harris will also consult with Lattie Coor, the school's president. "I'm upset," Harris says. And he repeats his doomsday phrase for our benefit:
"Zero tolerance is going to be my policy from now on." I think I have heard this song before. It actually came from the lips of Frieder during the days when his very first recruit, Sam Mack, was having trouble with the police. I am usually not one for dredging up old wrongs, but this time it seems that it might be instructive to go back to the Mack case to remind us all of where we started with Frieder.
I think about this as I hear Harris boast about how his coaches always do thorough background checks and visits in the homes to meet the players' parents. I remember how Frieder found Mack, a young student-athlete (which is what they call them) who had already played a full season for Johnny Orr at Iowa State University.