In a phone call played during the college basketball corruption trial Monday, agent-runner Christian Dawkins told partner Munish Sood that UA coach Sean Miller "fronted" a deal to land a player believed to be Deandre Ayton.
ESPN reported in February 2018 that Miller discussed with Dawkins paying Ayton $100,000 to play for the Wildcats, a report that Miller vehemently denied six days later. Miller's statement included an assertion that had never paid a player or his family member or representative to attend Arizona, and that he never will.
Before Ayton played a game for Arizona, Richardson and the others were discussing his future representation. Richardson said in an August 2017 meeting, held at a Tucson restaurant, that Ayton's mother was "loyal to someone else" when it came to picking an agent. (Ayton turned pro after one season at Arizona, signed with agent Nima Namakian and was taken No. 1 overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2018 draft).
Monday was the first day of the second week of the trial in U.S. District Court in New York, and Sood's second day on the witness stand.
During Monday's proceedings, a video played showed Richardson telling a financial advisor and an undercover FBI agent that he would try to direct three Wildcats standouts to them, according to tweets from Star correspondent Adam Zagoria and CBS Sports' Matt Norlander.
Richardson said the men were "going to get Rawle Alkins," who the coach described as a first-round draft pick.
‘You’re going to get Rawle Alkins, he’s going to be a first rounder. Allonzo Trier, you should get him. Deandre Ayton, we’re working on him’ - Book Richardson says on the videotape to Sood and 2 undercover FBI agents from 6/20/17 https://t.co/0LCvqfkdqZ— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 29, 2019
‘I wish I was a pimp and you were a prostitute. You’d make millions for me,’ Book Richardson says on videotape Christian Dawkins told him. https://t.co/Kmrh04defy— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 29, 2019
The meeting took place on June 20, 2017, the day that Richardson first took $5,000 from the two men. Richardson took another $15,000 in July; co-conspirator Munish Sood, a financial advisor, testified Monday that Richardson said he needed the money to land a recruit for Arizona.
Alkins spent two seasons at Arizona, turning pro following the 2017-18 season. At the time Richardson promised to deliver Alkins to Dawkins and Sood, the wing was one month removed from announcing plans to return to school for his sophomore season. Alkins is now a part of the Chicago Bulls' organization.
Sood testified that Book asked for another $15K in July 2017 to land a specific recruit ‘I needed clarity for what the money ($5,000) was for, whereas the $15,000 was for a recruit,’ Sood testified. https://t.co/0LCvqfkdqZ— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 29, 2019
The initial federal complaints, filed in September 2017, made note of the conversations between Richardson and the men.
Also Monday, Richardson is quoted discussing the recruitment of Jahvon Quinerly and the logistics involved with his mother.
Richardson is also quoted on tape saying LSU coach Will Wade offered him a job, saying Wade told him he made a deal for $300,000 to land Naz Reid and that Richardson told him he could make sure Reid went there for half as much. (Reid was also a UA recruiting target in 2017).
Richardson also said on tape that paying players was putting financial pressure on him:
Wild day in federal court. Ex Arizona assistant Book Richardson, on recorded tape, basically says despite making nearly $250,000 a year he was “broke” from using so much of own money to pay recruits. Hyperbole, sure, but still.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) April 29, 2019