Adidas consultant testifies he paid families of Ayton, other recruits

Deandre Ayton was an all American at Arizona before he was selected first overall in the NBA draft

The payment from Adidas was likely meant to get the star Bahamian big man to play either in Adidas's youth basketball league, commit to an Adidas-sponsored college team, or gain an inside track in signing Ayton to an endorsement deal, and was apparently unsuccessful.

"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", read a statement from Paul Kelly, who was hired as outside counsel in October following the arrest of then-assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson. He also named Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa of Kansas and Dennis Smith Jr. of North Carolina State. He said the coach told him he was going to give it to a personal trainer for highly-touted point guard Dennis Smith Jr.as a way to get it to Smith's family.

Gassnola is a key witness in the ongoing trial of two Adidas officials and Dawkins, the agent hopeful, on charges of wire fraud, in connection with allegations they arranged payments to the families of recruits to steer them to Adidas-sponsored college teams.

The shocker is National Basketball Association rookie Deandre Ayton who was selected by the Phoenix Suns with No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

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He said that while working under the direction of Gatto, he met with the mother of Preston in a hotel room in 2016 to bring him to Kansas for $90,000, warning her off of other recruiters who were less discrete about the money.

Early did not respond to a text message from the AP on Thursday. The legendary coach was never accused of a crime but was sacked amid the fallout. Dawkins had first informed Gassnola the family was interested in leaving their current program and playing for a different one, but the family "needed $25,000 to make that move".

De Sousa, now a sophomore, was adamant at KU basketball media day Wednesday that he would play this year, and KU coach Bill Self said the program is approaching the season with that expectation. He's now now under contract with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers in a developmental league. The vehicle was revealed Thursday to be a Dodge Charger registered to Preston's late grandmother, a fact KU accepted, though it continued to press Player on whether she received money elsewhere, according to Norlander.

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