Citizen Staff Writer
One of new Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller’s biggest recruiting tools is playing time.
“There’s never been a period of time where there’s more opportunity to play as a freshman and get some great minutes,” Miller said Thursday on the Dan Patrick Show, telling the national radio host how he would pitch the UA program to prospective recruits.
Arizona is losing Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill to the NBA, and junior guard Nic Wise said he will test the draft waters.
Patrick, acting as a recruit, asked Miller, “How many shots will I be able to take?”
“That’s when a red flag goes up,” Miller said, joking that he probably wouldn’t consider a recruit who is a ball hog.
Miller said he has talked to former UA players such as Steve Kerr, Luke Walton and Andre Iguodala, and is using their NBA careers as ammunition to sell the UA program to recruits.
“If you ask most (recruits), they want to play in the Final Four, win an NCAA title and play in the NBA,” said Miller, who pointed out that UA has had 13 first-round picks, nine lottery picks and possibly two more with Hill and Budinger. The Cats have been to four Final Fours, including winning the 1997 national title.
Miller said one of the reasons he came to the Pac-10 was the competition, and he cited how well teams such as Arizona State, Washington, UCLA, California and Stanford have recruited recently.
The new UA coach agreed with Patrick that he’s “happy” about not having to face ASU guard James Harden, the Pac-10 player of the year who left early for the NBA. Harden helped ASU trounce Xavier his freshman season.
Patrick kidded with Miller about a YouTube video that shows a 10-year-old Miller demonstrating his Pete Maravich-like ball-handling skills.
“I peaked at 10,” Miller joked. “It’s been all downhill since then.
“Hopefully, I’ll redeem myself at Arizona.”