Did ESPN confuse Deandre Ayton with Brian Bowen in Miller report?
A lot of holes have been poked into ESPN’s report that said Sean Miller was caught on a wiretap discussing paying Deandre Ayton to come to the University of Arizona. Now there is some speculation saying that ESPN confused Ayton for Brian Bowen in their report.
Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen said in an interview with Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that he thinks ESPN got the players wrong.
“I don’t even think it was Deandre Ayton who was mentioned in that report,” Hansen said, via ArizonaSports.com. “I think it was (former Louisville commit) Brian Bowen. I think they got that wrong. I think there are so many (things) that ESPN screwed it up.
“I talked to someone yesterday — his name might rhyme with ‘look’ — and he said that it wasn’t Ayton at all. It was Brian Bowen.”
Hansen’s reference to “look” is about former Arizona assistant “Book” Richardson, who was fired after being part of the FBI arrests in September. Hansen clarified that he did not speak to Richardson, but someone close to him.
Furthering this suggestion is what 247 Sports reported on Monday. 247 Sports noted that ESPN changed the timeline of its report twice. They initially said the phone call between Miller and Christian Dawkins that was on a wiretap took place in the spring of 2017. Then they said spring of 2016. Then they said just 2016. Now they’ve gone back and said it was 2017.
ESPN having to correct its correction on a report that the subject called “defamatory” isn’t great! pic.twitter.com/jeaxqXEL3p
— Kevin Draper (@kevinmdraper) March 1, 2018
247 Sports pointed out that Dawkins was also never really known to have a connection to Ayton.
However, Dawkins was known to be shopping Bowen to schools.
Yahoo’s Pat Forde reported the following in an article published on Feb. 23:
Dawkins ran the recruitment of Bowen, the decorated high school recruit who turned up in one of the U.S. Attorney’s criminal complaints as being allegedly sold to Louisville, via Adidas, for a six-figure payment.
Forde also reported that Dawkins was shopping Bowen to Arizona, and that Arizona was interested.
The FBI later said in its indictment that Bowen went to Louisville for $100,000, the revelation of which led to Rick Pitino’s firing. $100,000 is the amount of money ESPN says Miller was recorded on wiretap discussing with Dawkins for a player in 2017. Bowen committed to Louisville in 2017.
Now keep all this information in mind when you read this quote, which came from Miller during his press conference on Thursday:
“The only attempted corrections by the original source of the media statements are still inaccurate and completely false,” Miller said. “I also want you to know that the one time someone suggested to me paying a player to come to the University of Arizona, I did not agree to it. It never happened, and that player did not come to the University of Arizona.”
Hmm? The one time someone shopped a player to him, he did not agree to it, and that player did not go to Arizona? Yup, that seems to also coincide with the suggestion that the player in the ESPN report was Bowen, not Ayton.
Maybe this is exactly why Miller vehemently defended himself against ESPN’s allegations and why Arizona is allowing him to continue to coach.