Arizona star freshman Deandre Ayton played last night against Oregon, much to the surprise of many.
Ayton was the focal point of ESPN's report on Friday night, which claimed that Wildcats head coach Sean Miller was caught on tape discussing a $100,000 payment to the five-star recruit. Miller didn't coach last night's game.
Because Miller sat out, many expected Ayton to do the same, but Arizona released a statement confirming his eligibility. Ayton went on to post a monster 28-point, 18-rebound effort in an overtime loss to the Ducks.
This afternoon, attorney Paul Kelly, who is handling Arizona's internal investigation, released a lengthy statement regarding Ayton. In it, he maintained that the star freshman did nothing wrong and should be eligible.
According to Kelly, Ayton has been interviewed by federal prosecutors and the FBI, Arizona and PAC-12 officials, NCAA representatives and an independent law firm.
"In each of these interviews, Mr. Ayton has 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 to attend the University of Arizona," Kelly said.
Here's his full statement.
Assuming nothing changes, it doesn't look like Ayton will be sitting out any time soon. This is obviously a benefit for the Wildcats.
Miller's situation is more up in the air. He could still be the next coach taken down by the FBI probe--Louisville's Rick Pitino was the first.
Ayton is averaging 19.9 points and 11.2 rebounds for Arizona this season.