Arizona fans will just have to get use to other teams wanting its head basketball coach.
Sidney Lowe stepped down at North Carolina State this week, and speculation out of Raleigh was that Arizona’s Sean Miller was a target.
Shoot, he should be. All athletic directors should aim high, even if it is beyond their reach. Remember when the Wildcats pursued John Calipari, then at Memphis, a couple of years ago?
But Miller leaving a good — no, great — situation at Arizona to go to North Carolina State?
It’s hardly worth considering … but welcome to the internet world. If somebody writes something, then somebody else has to address what’s already out there.
That’s what Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne did Wednesday morning, when he used Twitter to say: “Sean Miller & I have had good talks. He has zero interest in any job openings. We will have no further comment. Let’s go beat Memphis!”
Miller does have ties to N.C. State, having served as an assistant there for five seasons under Herb Sendek from 1996 to 2001. His brother, UA assistant Archie Miller, was a point guard for the Wolfpack from 1998 to 2002, and spent two years on the staff — one as director of operations, one as an assistant.
Those connections don’t amount to much compared to what Sean Miller has going on with the Wildcats. He came to Tucson for the chance to win championships. He already has a Pac-10 title. What he was talking about was NCAA championships.
You think he would leave here before making a serious run at the whole enchilada? You think he would leave here for a North Carolina State program that is third fiddle, at best, in its own state?
You don’t leave NCIS for a chance to be on Law & Order: Los Angeles.
If sophomore forward Derrick Williams returns — and that’s a huge if — Arizona is a Final Four team, on paper, in 2012.
Without Williams, the Wildcats will have questions inside but will be a more athletic team with the addition of a top five recruiting class that includes point guard Josiah Turner and guard Nick Johnson.
That recruiting class might be the surest sign Miller is the right man for the Arizona job. Start putting those kind of classes back-to-back-to-back … and then you’ve got a chance to have what Lute Olson had for much of more than two decades at Arizona.
No coach walks away from that possibility after two seasons.
It’s worth repeating: Arizona was very, very lucky when it landed Miller from Xavier. The Wildcats could have ended up with USC’s Tim Floyd, who resigned months later amid NCAA violations. Arizona at least kicked the tires on Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel and Utah’s Jim Boylen, both of whom were fired this week.
Arizona has been lucky, and Miller has been so good that his name just might pop up whenever a big-time coaching job (or something close to it) comes open — just like Kentucky made a couple of runs at Olson back in the day.
It’s certainly better than no one wanting your head coach.
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