Sean Miller could still walk away from Arizona with $10M despite allegedly being willing to pay $100,000 for Deandre Ayton | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / December 8.
  • Sean Miller could still walk away from Arizona with $10M despite allegedly being willing to pay $100,000 for Deandre Ayton

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    Sean Miller could still walk away from Arizona with more than $10 million despite allegedly being willing to pay $100,000 for Deandre Ayton.

    An ESPN story released Friday says the FBI has wiretapped conversations of Miller discussing a $100,000 payment to Ayton, the 7-foot-1 Bahamian native who is in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

    Still, if Miller is found to have violated NCAA rules, his financial picture won’t be as rosy.

    The ESPN report was just the latest blow for Arizona, the preseason No. 2 team in the nation. In September, assistant Book Richardson was one of four high-profile Division 1 coaches arrested when the FBI arrested 10 people in the college basketball scandal. The Miller news would make it seem that Richardson wasn’t acting as a lone wolf.

    Also this week, junior guard Allonzo Trier was ruled ineligible after testing positive for a banned substance.

    The Miller/Ayton news could have ramifications on the recruiting front, too.

    Arizona already lost point guard Jahvon Quinerly, who decommited in the wake of the FBI investigation and then chose Villanova, and missed out on several top recruits, including R.J. Barrett, Bol Bol and Simi Shittu, all of whom crossed Arizona off their lists after the FBI scandal broke.

    Now their remaining two 2018 commits, Shareef O’Neal, Shaquille’s son, and Brandon Williams could decommit too.

    Arizona is currently a projected No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, per ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Arizona has yet to issue any official comment on the latest Miller news.

    “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,” Miller said in a statement released in September. “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.”

    Photo: Bleacher Report

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.