Arizona head coach and Pitt and Blackhawk alum Sean Miller appears to be in pretty serious hot water in connection with the ongoing FBI investigation into recruiting violations and fraud in college basketball.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com reported early on Saturday that Miller had discussed the payment of $100,000 to ensure freshman Deandre Ayton would sign with the Wildcats.
ESPN’s story is sourced from the discovery process of the federal trial of several former college assistant coaches, including Emanuel “Book” Richardson, who worked under Miller at Arizona. Allegedly, telephone conversations between Miller and agent Christian Dawkins were recorded when the FBI wiretapped Dawkins as part of its investigation.
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center, is one of the top freshmen in the country and is averaging 19.6 points per game and 10.9 rebounds per game. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 14 in the AP Top 25 and are in first place in the PAC-12 Conference with a 12-3 record.
Miller received a raise and a contract extension last February. He makes at least $2.9 million per year and is under contract through 2022.
He had been reported to be in consideration for the Pitt job when the Panthers hired Kevin Stallings in 2016, but notoriously refuted claims that he was in Pittsburgh for an interview by having his Arizona staff post a picture of him walking around campus.
Miller attended Pitt from 1987 to 1992 and remains one of the team’s top all-time scorers, currently tied for 21st with teammate Bobby Martin with 1,282 points. He was born in Ellwood City, Pa. and moved to Blackhawk, where his father, John coached. Miller’s brother, Archie, coaches at Indiana.