Arizona Athletics

Outside Counsel: Ayton an ‘honorable young man’ is eligible to play

Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton, a candidate for college basketball’s player of the year, has played in 29 games and will likely play the rest of the season because he is said to be eligible to do so. In a report from outside counsel to investigate the UA basketball team, it was found that Ayton did not – or has not – take any money to attend Arizona.

Attorney Paul Kelly issued a statement early this evening amid reports Ayton was involved in a pay-for-play situation. Kelly said the reports are “false and unfounded.”

Kelly said Ayton has been interviewed by a number of groups, including UA, NCAA, FBI, Pac-12 and the independent counsel of Steptoe and Johnson.

“In each of these interviews, Mr. Ayton has credibly and consistently 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. “Not a shred of evidence has been adduced suggesting otherwise, which federal investigators and the NCAA officials have acknowledged.”

Statement from attorney Paul Kelly

Kelly added that it was his opinion that Ayton is “an outstanding an honorable young man who has been truthful and cooperative in all our dealings with him.”

Ayton is averaging 19.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. On Saturday he had his 19th double-double of the season. He had 28 points and 18 rebounds in an overtime loss to Oregon.

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