NEW YORK — Sean Miller will likely not be compelled to take the stand in the ongoing federal trial involving corruption in college basketball.
Judge Edgardo Ramos initially ruled last week that the Arizona Wildcats’ coach and LSU coach Will Wade would not have to testify, saying their alleged misdeeds were irrelevant to the felony bribery charges facing would-be agent Christian Dawkins and Adidas rep Merl Code.
Ramos said Thursday morning that he was unlikely to change his mind after Dawkins' attorney asked him to reconsider, citing new evidence, Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel said. Ramos encouraged the defense to put together a written motion, Wetzel reported, but said "nothing has changed."
Judge Ramos this morning indicated he was unlikely to reconsider a pretrial ruling that barred the defense from calling Arizona coach Sean Miller as a witness in college hoops bribery trial ...— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) April 25, 2019
Defense argued that Miller should be called after government played a FBI tape of defendant Christian Dawkins discussing an alleged phone call with Miller concerning recruitment of Deandre Ayton. While Judge Ramos encouraged a written motion, he declared “nothing has changed.”— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) April 25, 2019
Defense attorney Steve Haney cited a video presented Wednesday to jurors that featured Dawkins bragging about his relationship with Miller and former UA assistant coach Book Richardson.
In the video, secretly recorded aboard a yacht in June 2017, Dawkins, alleged co-conspirator Munish Sood, confidential informant Marty Blazer and undercover FBI agent Jeff DeAngelo discussed their plans to launch a network of schools and basketball coaches that they could control. Richardson’s name came up on the videotape, as did Miller’s.
Dawkins said on the videotape that he and Miller had been talking as recently as a week and a half ago, around the time Deandre Ayton — the future No. 1 pick in the NBA draft — had enrolled at the UA.
Dawkins told the others that Miller told him he was “taking care of everything myself” with regards to Ayton, but that he wanted to “turn everything over” to the aspiring agent. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” previously reported there were at least 13 calls between phones belonging to Miller and Dawkins between May 3, 2017, and July 2, 2017, with the majority taking place in May. Dawkins’ phone connected with Richardson’s phone at least 16 times between May 5, 2017, and June 26, 2017, according to ESPN.
There was nothing explicitly said on the FBI video about any money given to Ayton, and Miller has vehemently denied a February 2018 ESPN report that said he discussed a $100,000 payment to the eventual No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Miller has not been charged with any crime. He said more than a year ago that he's never paid a player, their family member or their representative to attend Arizona, and that he never will.
The videotape was the focus of the trial for a second consecutive day. Jurors spent part of Thursday morning watching a recording of Code discussing "sneaker wars" on the yacht. Star correspondent Adam Zagoria has more from New York:
Some of the hits from this morning at the college basketball bribery trial...‘I’m surprised there aren’t more murders in our space.’ - Merl Code on a June 2017 video shown by the government about sneaker wars and the competition to land top NBA prospects.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
‘Nike schools pay, too...In some form or fashion, Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Kentucky, all of the schools are doing something to help get kids. That’s just part of the space.’ - Merl Code on video June 2017— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
‘If I let my kid go to Kentucky, I promise you I won’t get him back.’ Merl Code on not wanting to send recruits to Kentucky b/c he would lose control over them in the NBA process.’— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
‘He’s the Anti-Christ,’ Christian Dawkins on FBI video about Nike grassroots Director Lynn Merritt. Dawkins said he preferred working with Merl Code at Adidas.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
Zion Williamson and a discussion of his recruitment by Clemson Asst Steve Smith was shown on FBI videotape todayMarty Blazer: ‘Steve had just had a meeting with Zion Williamson’s stepfather. Steve was recruiting Zion. Steve was going to try & find out what Zion’s family needed’— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
There was no evidence provided that anything was ever given to Zion or his family. https://t.co/Cgs1r3FTF1— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
Christian Dawkins on videotape talks about Zion’s recruitment, saying its ‘gonna be crazy. Duke is gonna have their resources. UNC is UNC. Kentucky, they have their resources. ‘So if comes down to (it)...we’ll be able to make sure everything’s good for the parent & everything.’— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
Also videotape was shown to the jury involving cash transactions with these coaches in a Vegas hotel room in summer 2017:-Corey Barker(TCU) got $6,000 in cash from D’Angelo/the FBI agent -Tony Bland (USC) got $13,000 via D’Angelo and Dawkins-Preston Murphy (Creighton) $6K— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
Preston Murphy is shown in the FBI video wearing a Creighton T-Shirt and putting the envelope of cash into his pocket as he sat on a hotel room couch https://t.co/208Lz65vBh— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
Bland said on the video he needed the $$ to facilitate the recruitment of Marvin Bagley to USC‘I need you guys on campus the minute he signs and we’ll figure out what he needs when he gets there,’ Blazer testified about Bland and Bagley. https://t.co/208Lz65vBh— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019
Tony Bland on video re: Marvin Bagley potentially joining up with Dawkins: ‘This is the type of dude that if you get him, everybody will follow.’ There was no evidence shown that the Bagleys ever received any of the $13K given to Bland by D’Angelo. https://t.co/GN9791c7mm— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 25, 2019