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Christian Dawkins says he ‘never had conversations’ with Sean Miller about Deandre Ayton

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But ... didn’t ESPN say they did?

christian-dawkins-sean-miller-deandre-ayton-arizona-wildcats-college-basketball-trial-fbi-bribery Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that wiretapped conversation between Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, the one ESPN reported more than a year ago involved the pair discussing a $100,000 payment in order to ensure Deandre Ayton played for the Arizona Wildcats?

Never happened. At least that’s what Dawkins said Wednesday after being found guilty of a pair of federal bribery charges stemming from an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption.

“I had no involvement with Deandre Ayton, that’s a fact,” Dawkins said, per a story college basketball insider Adam Zagoria wrote for the Arizona Daily Star. “So the whole (February 2018) ESPN report (that said Dawkins and Miller discussed paying Ayton), that’s something I couldn’t say is accurate because I never had conversations about delivering Deandre Ayton to Arizona for Sean Miller. Didn’t happen.”

The two-week trial of Dawkins and ex-Adidas rep Merl Code, who collectively were found guilty of on three of 10 counts, had frequent mentions of Miller, Ayton, former Wildcat Rawle Alkins and ex-assistant Emanuel ‘Book’ Richardson, one of several college coaches arrested in September 2017 as part of an FBI sting. Richardson pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge earlier this year and is set to be sentenced next week.

Wiretaps and videos played during the trial, as well as testimony by Dawkins, included Dawkins and Richardson both making claims that Miller paid players, though Miller himself was never heard on a tape saying as such. U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos denied the defense’s attempts to have Miller testify, calling anything he’d have to say irrelevant to the trial.

Federal prosecutors objected twice to Dawkins being asked directly by defense attorneys if Miller was aware of Arizona players being paid, preventing him from answering. Asked the same question outside the New York City courthouse on Wednesday, Dawkins refused to answer.

“I’m not going to answer that,” Dawkins said, per the Star’s story. “Because this is the thing, I don’t see nothing wrong with it so I’m not gonna throw nobody under the bus for something that I agree with. I’m not going to put (Miller) in a position that could hurt him. It’s just too sensitive for me. I don’t care that much. I don’t want him to lose his job.”