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Sean Miller deflects questions about federal trial, Deandre Ayton’s eligibility

SAN FRANCISCO — Much as he was a year ago, Arizona coach Sean Miller was bombarded at the start of his Pac-12 media day interview with questions about what’s come out of the federal investigation into college basketball.

He deflected most of them by referring to his March 1 statement in which he said he has “never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as coach of this great program.”

When Yahoo’s Pat Forde asked Miller if he believed UA was in compliance with the rules, considering that Deandre Ayton, Joe Pasternack and Book Richardson have all been implicated, Miller said:

“You know, Deandre is one of the great kids that I’ve ever been around. Obviously we’re all very proud of him, of what he’s doing right now, and the fact that he’s the No. 1 pick. But again, I would ask you to go back to the statement that I made in March.”

I asked Miller whether he had any concern that Ayton could be declared retroactively ineligible (which could effectively eliminate all of UA’s wins off the books last season), if it was proven an Adidas rep paid him — even if UA had nothing to do with it.

“I’m aware a trial is going on, but if you’d like to ask me about our team this year, our program on the court, I’d be happy to answer those questions,” Miller said in response. “Any of the other types of questions, I would ask you to go to the statement that I made in March.”

Miller went on to answer questions about being picked fourth (he said he was surprised the Wildcats were picked that high) as well as the challenges ahead. He also said Chase Jeter would “start at the five” (just in case that wasn’t clear), why he named Justin Coleman a captain and he addressed some other questions.

Here’s the full transcript of Miller’s comments.


Oregon’s Dana Altman, who also fielded several trial-related questions, says highly regarded freshman Louis King should be cleared to play about Dec. 1 after suffering a torn meniscus.


Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak dismissed a question as “silly” about a reported $9,500 payment that then-Utah standout Kyle Kuzma’s associate received, but said he’s keeping an eye on the trial.

A year ago, Krystkowiak said he sometimes gets to the point where he stops recruiting players when it becomes clear that they or their handlers/families are looking for handouts. So I asked Krystkowiak if the allegations coming out of the trial are consistent with what he’s heard or seen on the recruiting trail over the years.

“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any big secret. It’s not blowing anybody away. It’s public for the first time. I think there’s a lot of understanding of things that have been happening for a long time.”

We’ll have more from Pac-12 media day posted Thursday evening and in Friday’s print edition. Podium comments from the coaches can be found here.

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