The Arizona Wildcats announced in a press conference today that head basketball coach Sean Miller will return to the sidelines after missing one game after being linked to the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and bribery in college basketball.
This decision comes on the heels of a report by ESPN's Mark Schlabach that FBI wiretaps have Miller, who has been Arizona's head coach since 2009, and former ASM Sports agent Christian Dawkins discussing making a payment of $100K to star center Deandre Ayton to ensure he signed with the Wildcats.
Miller did not coach in Arizona's loss to Oregon on Saturday one day after that report broke.
However, a 247sports report about Miller countered ESPN's, raising questions about the timeline and casting doubt about Ayton's involvement. ESPN has since changed their report, claiming the call happened one year earlier than initially reported and was about a "five-star prospect" rather than Ayton.
"I have done nothing wrong," Miller said in a statement. "We do our very best to run a clean program. I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona. Anything reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false and defamatory. There was no such conversation.
"I have been completely open and transparent and I look forward to coaching this team as we seek a Pac-12 championship this week."
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Dawkins and former assistant Emmanuel "Book" Richardson were two of the 10 people arrested in September when the FBI released their initial findings in the investigation. Richardson is accused of accepting $20K in bribes from Dawkins and financial advisor Munish Sood and giving a prospect $5K in order to get him to commit to Arizona. That prospect is believed to be 2018 five-star PG Jahvon Quinerly, who has since committed to Villanova.
Miller is 242–72 in nine seasons at Arizona after a successful five-year stint at Xavier. He led the Wildcats to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in five of the last seven seasons but has failed to make the Final Four.
He is expected to be on the sidelines tonight when Arizona hosts Stanford.
Ayton, who at one time was the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2017 recruiting class, has emerged as one of the favorites to win both Pac-12 and National Player of the Year. He is averaging 19.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
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Related Topics: NCAA Basketball, Sean Miller, Pac-12 Basketball, Arizona Wildcats Basketball