A new ESPN report has revealed that FBI wiretaps reportedly recorded a phone call where Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller discussed paying $100,000 to star freshman DeAndre Ayton to commit to the Wildcats. The news broke on Friday night, only hours after Yahoo Sports issued a report that disclosed documents and bank records that connect departed NBA agent Andy Miller and ASM Sports to loans and various forbidden benefits associated with over 25 current and former college basketball players.
The taped conversations were between Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, a runner for ASM Sports who is a key player in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption, which is set to incriminate both players and coaches from some of the nation’s best programs. During the conversations, Dawkins asked Miller if he should work the deal through then-assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson to pay Ayton. According to ESPN’s report, Miller told Dawkins to work only with him in money related matters. The FBI has recorded 3,000 hours of conversation between the two, which were tapped through Dawkins’ phone.
In October, the U.S. Attorney’s office charged Dawkins with one count of conspiracy to launder money and three counts of wire fraud, in connection to allegations that he assisted in paying off recruits a total of $250,000 to commit to Adidas schools.
Ayton comes highly rated, as the Class of 2017’s fourth-best prospect, according to 247Sports. He chose Arizona over Kansas and Kentucky in September 2016. The 7-foot-1, 252-pounder is averaging 19.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game, and is leading the Wildcats to a 22-6 record. A Bahamas native, Ayton is anticipated to be a high lottery pick in the 2018 draft.
When Richardson was apprehended in September, Miller alleged that he knew nothing of Richardson’s actions.
Miller said in a statement released in September, “As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance.” He continued, “To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past eight years and will continue to do so as we move forward.”
Dawkins was accused of wire fraud in December, and was also suspected in Yahoo’s report, alongside ASM Sports founder Andy Miller, for granting impermissible loans and payments to players from Alabama, Duke, Kentucky, and Michigan State.