Adreian Payne’s selection of Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo is not all that surprising, especially after he took another visit to East Lansing last weekend to watch the Spartans play Iowa in football.
That should have been a dead giveaway of where the Dayton (Ohio) Jefferson center was headed. It sparked all the rumors that ran rampant leading up to today’s press conference. Nice try, though, West Virginia fans. I am sincere in writing that the students’ display for Payne there during Midnight Madness was impressive, albeit over the top (in my opinion).
What does this mean for Arizona? Personally, I wish the relationship between Portland (Ore.) Jefferson forward Terrence Jones and the UA coaching staff still exists — he’s that good people — but I get it that Jones was not firm in his decision to officially visit Tucson and the Wildcats had to concentrate on more realistic candidates.
Players like Jones don’t come around often. I also realize that being on the outside, not knowing the inner-workings of Jones and the UA coaches, my opinion is just that — an opinion. You can choose to agree or think I’m bonkers. That’s up to you.
One of the more telling aspects of UA coach Sean Miller’s segment today at the Pac-10 Media Day was his final statement.
Somebody asked what it will be like coaching in Lute Olson’s shadow.
“Returning this program to a dominant level takes a lot of good fortune and a lot of hard work, but that’s the challenge of being the next coach,” Miller said. “I want to continue so many of the great things that have already taken place. … Part of it is to have the great players who have played and worn the uniform at Arizona. That, to me, is the greatest challenge going forward, is to continue that part of it.”
Miller has succeeded thus far despite the setbacks this week — Rod Odom’s de-commitment and Payne’s decision to go elsewhere. Give him time folks. Good news will come, perhaps sooner than you think. There is a talented point guard named Ray McCallum Jr. visiting Tucson this weekend. Getting him on board would be one heck of a way of adding to those great players who have worn an Arizona uniform.