Former assistant claims Sean Miller paid star player Deandre Ayton $10,000 per month

Former assistant claims Sean Miller paid star player Deandre Ayton $10,000 per month
Arizona head coach Sean Miller. (Source: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Federal prosecutors in the NCAA bribery trial played a recorded phone call in court on Wednesday, May 1, in which former Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson claimed that Wildcats head coach Sean Miller paid an athlete $10,000 per month, according to a report on ESPN.com.

According to the report, which can be read in full HERE, Richardson was talking to Christian Dawkins, described as an aspiring agent, on June 20, 2017, when he made the allegation regarding Miller and star center Deandre Ayton.

Dawkins, and an amateur basketball coach, Merl Code, are on trial for allegedly paying bribes to assistant basketball coaches to help secure NBA-bound players as customers.

The University of Arizona released the following statement:

“The University of Arizona takes the information presented in court today very seriously and remains committed to the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct which includes competing within the rules of the NCAA and the PAC-12 Conference. We will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA and with other ongoing investigations into this matter in the best interest of the University and the men’s basketball program.”

Miller has already disputed a February ESPN report the FBI intercepted a call between Dawkins and Miller, in which the coach is alleged to have discussed a $100,000 payment that secured Ayton’s commitment to the Wildcats.

Miller has denied ever paying a recruit to sign with Arizona.

During the trial last week, Miller’s name came up again.

According to CBS Sports, video played in court showed Dawkins talking with undercover FBI agents. Dawkins, a convicted felon, said he believes Miller cheated while recruiting players.

“The thing with (former Arizona assistant) Book (Richardson), Arizona is like, Sean Miller has to know everything that’s going on,” Dawkins said in the video. “I can call Sean and have a conversation like, this is what’s going on. Like, this is what’s needing to be done.”

In January, Richardson pleaded guilty to one count of federal funds bribery, punishable by 18-24 months in prison.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that Miller and LSU coach Will Wade do not have to testify, saying their testimony would be irrelevant to the corruption trial.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.