It looks like the FBI investigation is about to claim its latest coaching victim.
Thus far, the only coach to be fired as a result of finding in this investigation is Louisville Cardinals coach Rick Pitino. He was fired, among other reasons, for being linked to payments for five-star recruit Brian Bowen.
Now, it appears Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller could face a similar fate. According to ESPN, Miller was involved in a payment set up for five-star recruit DeAndre Ayton.
FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone conversations between Arizona coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, a key figure in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption, in which Miller discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats, sources familiar with the government’s evidence told ESPN.
Yeah...this is really bad for Miller and Ayton, who was at one time a big UK target in the Class of 2017. Then, out of the blue (no pun intended), Ayton announced his commitment to Arizona.
Star center Deandre Ayton was 87-percent to Kansas, 13-percent to Kentucky in @247Sports Crystal Ball. Shocks everyone - except, apparently, Sean Miller - by picking Arizona. $100,000 will do that. https://t.co/WLx4t0GY65— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) February 24, 2018
Sure, UK may vacate some games because of Bam Adebayo or someone close to him taking a loan around $40,000, but that’s nothing compared to Miller actually helping set up a payment for Ayton.
Arizona has looked like a Final Four contender at times this season, but now, they may not even accept a bid to the NCAA Tournament. They just lost their second-best player — Allonzo Trier — to a PED suspension.
Now, they may lose their head coach and best player before conference tournaments even begin.