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Former Adidas consultant says he paid Deandre Ayton's family

Former Adidas consultant says he paid Deandre Ayton's family
Posted at 2:21 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 21:42:05-04

Former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola testified in federal court that he paid the families of several basketball players, including former University of Arizona player Deandre Ayton. Ayton has since been drafted by the Phoenix Suns and is entering his rookie season.

Matt Norlander Jr. of CBS Sports tweeted the information. Several sports executives and basketball coaches are accused of taking part in a bribery ring involving top basketball athletes and shoe company money.

Other players Gassnola mentioned included Dennis Smith Jr. (North Carolina State), Brian Bowen Jr. (Louisvillee), Billy Preston (Kansas) and Silvio De Sousa (Kansas).

In 2017, the FBI arrested then-UA assistant coach Book Richardson on bribery charges related to the investigation that ensnared Gatto, sports agents and other assistant coaches.

Earlier in the trial, a defense attorney said Arizona was prepared to pay the family of Nasir Little as much as $150,000 to play basketball at the school. Little later committed to North Carolina.

In February, ESPN reported that FBI wiretaps recorded UA coach Sean Miller discussing a $100,000 payment to an agent on behalf of DeAndre Ayton, who played one year at UA before being drafted. An attorney who conducted the UA's internal investigation on the matter said the ESPN report was false.

In March, Miller denied ever having directed payment to a recruit or knowingly having violated NCAA rules.

It should be noted that Arizona basketball is sponsored by Nike, and does not have any deals with Adidas.