The biggest bombshell (so far) of the ongoing FBI scandal in college basketball dropped today. Intercepted phone calls between Christian Dawkins – a central figure in this investigation – and Arizona head coach Sean Miller reveal that Miller discussed paying $100K for the commitment of star recruit Deandre Ayton. The freshman currently plays for the Wildcats and is expected to be a top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Dawkins worked for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller before his indictment last year. A Yahoo! report on Friday morning laid out a myriad of potential NCAA violations, but nothing like this news that dropped Friday night.
Former Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson was one of four assistant coaches arrested for fraud at the same time as Dawkins and others. In the phone calls, Miller reportedly tells Dawkins to deal with him directly when it comes to cash payments (rather than work with Richardson).
One of Dawkins’ emails, included in the Y! report, mentions another former Arizona assistant and current UC Santa Barbara head coach Joe Pasternack. The 24-yr-old Dawkins wrote to his [Andy] Miller that “Joe told [him] he will help [them] get all the Arizona players.” The context suggests that Pasternack would guide eventual NBA draft picks Rawle Alkins and/or Lauri Markkanen to sign with ASM in exchange for a commitment from star recruit Brian Bowen. Bowen’s recruitment was “handled” by Dawkins and his decision to go to Louisville was one of the reasons Rick Pitino is no longer at the school.
** UPDATE: Arizona announced that Miller will not coach on the Wildcats in Saturday night’s game at Oregon.
** UPDATE 2: Deandre Ayton, the star player at the center of the $100K discussion, will not be held out of Arizona’s upcoming games.