In a statement, attorney Lynden B. Rose said Ayton’s family is “outraged and disgusted” by reports that “have falsely implied that her son or his family have any involvement in illegal or prohibited activities regarding his decision to matriculate at the University of Arizona.”
In a story published Friday night, ESPN reported that FBI wiretaps intercepted phone conversations between Wildcats coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, an employee for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller. According to sources familiar with the government’s evidence, Miller and Dawkins discussed paying $100,000 to ensure that Ayton would sign with the Wildcats.
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center who was born in the Bahamas, eventually committed to Arizona and has since become one of the nation’s best players, averaging 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds and considered a high-lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft.
In the statement released on behalf of Ayton’s family Saturday, Rose said Ayton told the FBI last year “that he never discussed or solicited payments from the University of Arizona, or any other university, or any shoe company or anyone on behalf of either — Period. This includes basketball and anything else.” Rose said Ayton’s decision to commit to the Wildcats was based on “family ties to Phoenix” as well as his familiarity with the program and the area; he previously played at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix.
“Although the FBI does not routinely do so (although exceptions have been made) DeAndre’s family certainly believes it is appropriate for that law enforcement agency, as well as NCAA and University of Arizona, to make public statements which unquestionably clears DeAndre’s good name,” the statement said.
In a statement earlier Saturday, Arizona said Ayton is eligible and will play Saturday night at Oregon. Miller, meanwhile, will not coach, with both he and the university saying they agreed it would be in their best interest for him not to be on the sideline.
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