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Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona assistant coach Mark Phelps will miss two games and forward Keanu Pinder will miss the Wildcats' opener Friday against NAU because of violations of NCAA rules, the school announced.

Phelps will also be suspended for UA's game against UMBC on Sunday and a total of five days. UA said his suspension is not related to the ongoing federal investigation into college basketball.

Pinder is scheduled to return Sunday, UA said, without mentioning if his issue was related to the federal investigation.

The suspensions mean a total of seven eligible UA team members will not be involved with Friday's season opener: Phelps, Pinder, assistant coach Book Richardson (federal charges), Dylan Smith (team violation), Brandon Randolph (possibly because of a concussion), Rawle Alkins (broken foot), Kory Jones (ACL).

Richardson was arrested on federal bribery and fraud charges on Sept. 26, and the school has moved to fire him. UA head coach Sean Miller has consistently declined to comment on the situation, except to say he supports the investigation and has worked for years to run things under NCAA rules.

In a Sept. 26 federal complaint, Richardson was alleged to have taken $20,000 and funneling at least most of it to five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly, who committed to the Wildcats but has since decommitted.

The complaint also quoted a sports agent saying that a current UA player has been paid, and that he has easy access to UA's normally closed practices. The complaint also quoted a shoe company rep saying Arizona offered five-star Florida forward Nassir Little $150,000.

In addition, the federal complaint alleges that a then-UA assistant coach other than Richardson exchanged two telephone calls with a financial advisor who later played a role in a scheme to pay players via coaches the day after two UA coaches met with the advisor in Las Vegas during the Pac-12 Tournament.

The only Arizona coach on last year's staff who is no longer on it is Joe Pasternack, who left his position as UA associate head coach to become the head coach of UC Santa Barbara.


Brandon Williams signed his scholarship papers for Arizona, becoming the Wildcats' first confirmed addition to the recruiting class of 2018 (though signing the non-binding papers gives him an out if NCAA sanctions hit Arizona).