Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke was requested repeatedly throughout a information convention Wednesday in regards to the timing of Sean Miller’s dismissal.
Why now, 5 weeks after the season?
Why not instantly after the ultimate recreation?
Why not instantly after the Discover of Allegations arrived?
Why not instantly after the FBI scandal broke, a mere 1,290 days in the past?
Heeke was by no means capable of supply a passable reply, as a result of there isn’t one.
The dealing with of the Miller matter … the whole Miller matter … by Heeke and Arizona president Robert Robbins is a thriller wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a wiretap.
However when requested in regards to the candidate pool out there to Arizona because it begins a nationwide seek for Miller’s substitute, Heeke’s reply was spot on.
“It goes with out saying that this is among the premier jobs within the nation.”
That it’s. That it’s.
Arizona is the second-best job within the Pac-12, behind UCLA, and one of many high 12 or 15 jobs within the nation due to the neighborhood help, entry to recruits, custom, kingpin standing on campus and confirmed pipeline to the NBA.
Robbins, a coronary heart surgeon who fashions himself an knowledgeable in collegiate athletics, has lengthy been intrigued by Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, in accordance with a supply.
A number of former Arizona gamers will undoubtedly obtain robust consideration, chief amongst them Damon Stoudamire, who has one successful season in 5 years at Pacific.
One other former participant, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner, has help in Tucson however doesn’t strike us as a viable choice. The Yellow Jackets have been banned from the 2020 NCAA event for main recruiting violations on Pastner’s watch.
That doesn’t appear to be match for a program that was simply banned from the NCAA event for main recruiting violations.
Nor does it appear sensible for the Wildcats to rent anybody related to the Cactus Basic that landed this system on NCAA probation a decade in the past; that will rule out present Lakers assistant Miles Simon.
One other former participant with native help, Jason Terry, has been an assistant coach for a grand whole of 1 12 months (at Arizona). Actually? You’re going to ship a rookie head coach out to compete in opposition to Mick Cronin and Dana Altman and assume a convention title will comply with?
That appears dangerous.
(The Juwan Howard comparability doesn’t work. Howard spent six years as an assistant for among the best coaches within the NBA, Erik Spoelstra. Terry has been an assistant for 26 video games.)
Nor does it appear sensible to rent anybody related to the Cactus Basic scandal of the 2000s, which generated self-imposed sanctions. That might seemingly rule out present Lakers assistant Miles Simon, who was reportedly deemed by the NCAA to have “acted opposite to the rules of moral conduct.”
We get the push for a member of the Arizona basketball household, however each choice brings vital threat, besides Steve Kerr, who isn’t an choice.
In our opinion, one title stands above all others.
One title ensures the Wildcats a return to glory.
One title will elicit a way of dread from each program within the Pac-12.
The Wildcats ought to open the vault, pay Eric Musselman no matter it takes, then chill and watch him increase this system to its historic customary.
Musselman is a greater coach than anybody who has been related to the job within the 24 hours since Miller’s dismissal.
He’s the son of an NBA coach and a former NBA coach himself, till a DUI arrest and dropping season value him a job in Sacramento.
From there, Musselman rebuilt his repute by changing into an assistant coach for 2 faculty groups, Arizona State and LSU.
What number of former NBA coaches put their ego within the closet and conform to change into faculty assistants? Musselman needed to maintain teaching, his finest (solely?) choice was the faculty route, and he knew he needed to study the nuances.
As soon as realized, twice utilized:
Musselman was named head coach at Nevada in 2015 and had the Wolf Pack within the Candy 16 in his third 12 months.
He was named head coach at Arkansas in 2019 and had the Razorbacks within the Elite Eight in his second 12 months.
That’s proper, Musselman has two journeys to the second weekend of the NCAA event for the reason that final time Arizona was there.
Two journeys to the second weekend up to now 4 years, at two completely different faculties.
And people faculties are Nevada and Arkansas, not Gonzaga and Kentucky.
The DUI? Bah. It was 15 years in the past.
(After using Miller for the previous 4 seasons, Arizona has vacated all claims to the ethical excessive floor.)
NCAA points? Not that we all know of.
(However on that entrance: Arizona wants a full-time compliance officer assigned to the basketball program, regardless of whom it hires — Musselman, Stoudamire, Lloyd, Mahatma Gandhi IV. That’s how precarious the compliance scenario is following a number of Degree I infractions.)
Musselman is among the finest coaches within the nation — higher than Sean Miller, higher than any former Arizona gamers (assuming Steve Kerr isn’t ).
He’s on the identical degree as Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
You understand, the most effective of the most effective.
He noticed the worth in transfers earlier than the switch portal was created, constructing his Candy 16 staff in Reno round gamers corralled from different faculties.
He’s a shrewd evaluator of expertise, a confirmed developer of personnel and a first-class tactician.
The cash is difficult. Musselman’s present wage in Fayetteville reportedly is $2.5 million per 12 months, with a stout buyout. And Arizona is paying off Miller. And Kevin Sumlin. And it has funds issues associated to the pandemic. And it has funds issues unrelated to the pandemic.
However that’s all of the extra motive to rent Musselman. The Wildcats desperately want their chief export driving income like by no means earlier than.
They can’t let money stand in the way in which. There’s cash out there — there’s at all times cash out there. It relies upon completely on whether or not Robbins needs to make use of it.
Rent Musselman, and the Wildcats are a Last 4 contender in Yr Three.
Rent Musselman, and the Wildcats are again to the usual of the Lute Olson period.
Rent Musselman, and the 2020s change into the Nineties yet again, with revitalized Arizona and resurgent UCLA dueling for convention supremacy.
High-10 packages loaded with draft picks.
Bitter rivals carrying the convention banner.
One of the best rivalry within the West — the rivalry that made the Pac-12 a terrific basketball convention — has been in a years-long droop.
The Bruins are on their approach again, due to Mick Cronin.
However to make it work, Arizona have to be Arizona once more.
The Wildcats can not afford to whiff on this rent, not after the previous 4 years.
“It’s about discovering the precise particular person, proper match, proper time,” Heeke stated.
One coach is righter than all of the others. Pay Musselman no matter it takes, then watch the glory return.
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