A wiretapped phone call from June 20, 2017, that was played by prosecutors in federal court Wednesday captured defendant Christian Dawkins and former Arizona assistant Book Richardson discussing alleged payments Wildcats head coach Sean Miller was making for two players enrolled at the school, according to multiple reports.
The players mentioned are former Wildcats Deandre Ayton and Rawle Alkins. Ayton was the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft after playing one season with U of A. Alkins was at the school from 2016-18 and went undrafted.
Dawkins is in the midst of testifying on the stand in his own defense, according to reporters at the trial; Richardson previously pleaded guilty in this case and will be sentenced May 30. The NCAA and Arizona both investigated previous allegations made against Miller and Ayton. Ayton never missed a game during his time at Arizona. Miller publicly denounced an ESPN report claiming he told Dawkins -- on an FBI-intercepted call in 2017 -- that he discussed paying for Ayton.
The wiretaps played will officially be under consideration for the jury when it is out to decide a verdict, but the calls in question do not provide tangible evidence of Miller paying either player.
One call from June 20, 2017, includes Richardson relaying to Dawkins information alleging Miller "was paying, or had promised to pay, $10,000 a month" for Ayton, according to Yahoo Sports.
"Amid the seven wiretaps played in court during the college basketball bribery trial, there were multiple inferences of Miller himself personally paying Ayton," Yahoo Sports reported.
After Richardson tells Dawkins, "Sean's got to get the [expletive] out of the way and let us work," here is the back-and-forth between Dawkins and Richardson as they discuss trying to get Ayton to link up with Dawkins' management company, LOYD Inc. Via ESPN:
"We'll see how Sean plays it out," Dawkins said.
"You know what he bought per month?" Richardson asked.
"What he do?" Dawkins asked.
"I told you -- 10," Richardson replied.
"He's putting up some real money for them [expletive]," Dawkins responded. "He told me he's getting killed."
"But that's his fault," Richardson said.
The calls also touch on Alkins, after Richardson reportedly told Dawkins that Dawkins didn't need to pay to land Alkins because Miller allegedly was already involved in payments.
"Sean's taking care of Rawle and them," Dawkins reportedly said. "So it no expenses to Rawle."
Cooperating witness Munish Sood testified on Monday that a meeting with Alkins' cousin, a man by the name of Rodney Labossiere, was arranged in Tucson on Aug. 30, 2017. Labossiere met with Sood, an undercover agent and Dawkins to establish a business relationship on behalf of Alkins.
Cooperating witness Marty Blazer testified in this case that he believed Miller was involved in paying players, though Blazer provided no actual evidence through his testimony. Miller has publicly maintained his innocence throughout, most notably saying on March 1, 2018: "I have never paid a recruit or prospect or their family or representative to come to Arizona. I never have and I never will. I have never arranged or directed payment or any improper benefits to a recruit or prospect or their family or representative, and I never will."
Federal prosecutors have already successfully shownto help out Dawkins and steer Arizona's players to Dawkins' company. The goal for the company was to align with players when they were either still in high school or college and then have them pay fees for advisory with LOYD Inc. when it came to selecting agents, financial advisors and more.