A lawyer representing the family of Deandre Ayton called allegations involving the Arizona star freshman false and urged the FBI, the NCAA and the university to come out publicly and clear Ayton's name.
In a statement, attorney Lynden B. Rose said Ayton's family is "outraged and disgusted" by reports that "have falsely implied that her son or his family have any involvement in illegal or prohibited activities regarding his decision to matriculate at the University of Arizona."
In a story published Friday night, ESPN reported that FBI wiretaps intercepted phone conversations between Wildcats coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, an employee for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller. According to sources familiar with the government's evidence, Miller and Dawkins discussed paying $100,000 to ensure Ayton would sign with the Wildcats.
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center who was born in the Bahamas, eventually committed to Arizona and has since become one of the nation's best players, averaging 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds, and is considered a high lottery pick in this year's NBA draft.
In the statement released on behalf of Ayton's family Saturday, Rose said Ayton told the FBI last year "that he never discussed or solicited payments from the University of Arizona, or any other university, or any shoe company or anyone on behalf of either -- period. This includes basketball and anything else."
Paul Kelly, outside counsel to the University of Arizona, said in a statement Sunday that any reports that Ayton or his family received money or other benefits in connection to his recruitment are "false and unfounded."
Kelly said in the statement that Ayton voluntarily submitted to several interviews in the past few months, and in each, Ayton?"credibly and consistently maintained that neither he nor any member of his family, nor any representative thereof, received any money or extra benefit to influence his decision."
Kelly later told ESPN's Myron Medcalf that Ayton did not submit any statements under oath.
"These types of interviews are not conducted under oath," Kelly said. "However, under NCAA bylaws there is an obligation of truthfulness and candor, and that warning is and was provided prior to those interviews. In addition, giving false answers to questions from federal law enforcement is a serious crime, so that is enough to cause most people to be very careful in responding."
Kelly also told ESPN's Mark Schlabach the two outside law firms working for the university don't have access to the FBI wiretaps and haven't been told what's included in them by federal authorities.
"Those items are subject to a court-imposed protective order, and only the charged defendants have access to those materials," Kelly told ESPN in a statement.
Rose said Ayton's decision to commit to the Wildcats was based on "family ties to Phoenix," as well as his familiarity with the program and the area; he previously played at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix.
"Although the FBI does not routinely do so (although exceptions have been made), DeAndre's family certainly believes it is appropriate for that law enforcement agency, as well as NCAA and University of Arizona, to make public statements which unquestionably clears DeAndre's good name," the statement said.
Ayton played in Saturday's 98-93 overtime loss to Oregon, scoring 28 points.?