Sean Miller Press Conference Transcripts
April 7, 2009
Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood'Let me just start by thanking everyone for being here. It's a momentous day for Arizona Athletics and Arizona Basketball. First of all, let me apologize to many of you who I have not called back this past week. It's been critical that this process be run by Arizona Athletics and not by anybody else and hopefully you will all understand that. Please know that you will get callbacks after today. I know Sean is going to be excited about that.'
'A tremendous thank you to Russ Pennell and his staff this year for the job they have done with the Wildcats and I would be remiss without thanking them again. I'd also like to thank C.M. and Martin Newton for their help during this process. For those of you who know C.M. and Martin Newton, and I know Sean would agree with this, that they are two of the classiest individuals in college athletics and not just college basketball.'
'April 7th, 2009 we sit here today to embark on a great new era of Arizona Wildcat Basketball. This process not only seemed like it took forever, it did. With that, it's always the hardest when you have what appears to be too much time in the process and with that we're thankful some days and not other days.'
'Let me just clear up one thing and I did not make a comment about this and have not over the past week to 10 days and so on. Last week, the President Robert Shelton and I met with Tim Floyd of USC. We had asked here in what was not a secret to virtually the entire world if he was interested and gave him a time period to call me back if he was. He wasn't, it wasn't about Arizona, it was about where he was. No other, and I think this is important, no other candidate was formally visited with by me or the president, period. Many have been linked by the media...none in this group, I know, but many were linked by the media as far as Arizona and maybe had turned the job down and didn't like the job. Let me just tell you how I feel in terms of where that stands. That is absolutely, completely false. Nobody turned this job down, so you need to know that. This is sometimes where egos get in the way of that. Sometimes people feel like they should be linked to it.
Sean Miller was on our earliest radar screen many, many months back. One of the things that we liked about Sean, not just the fact of what he had accomplished at Xavier and the things he had accomplished in his coaching along the way, but all of the things about how he treated young men, what kind of person he was, what kind of friend he was. So those things, as much as we liked about him, early on he basically told us that he was unmovable. He was at a great university, he worked for a great gentleman in Mike Babinski, who was an incredible A.D., a close friend and a class act. What we did was we circled back last week. Through the proper procedures and I think we did it the way that it should be done, just to try to find out if it could be done, if we could attract this young family into Tucson, Arizona and to head up Arizona Basketball, and I'm so glad we did.'
'Sean Miller exhibits everything you would want in a person you would want to lead a program of this caliber. He has great integrity, tremendous class, he cares about his student-athletes. He cares about them academically, socially and athletically. He gets it when it comes to recruiting. He is an outstanding husband, father and son, and wow, can he coach. I would go on and on and you all know why we are here today. Let me introduce to you the first family of Arizona Wildcat Basketball. Sean, Amy, Austin, Cameron, and Braden Miller. Thanks for coming to Arizona. We're all here to make your stay here an amazing adventure. Would you all please welcome Sean Miller, the new head coach of the Arizona Wildcats. Bear Down and Go Cats!
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller'Thank you very much. To say that I'm excited to be here would be an understatement. Before I even thank the appropriate people, I want to make sure that I thank Coach Olson for being here at this press conference. It means the world to me. Just so you know, one of the reasons that I sit here today is because of the great legacy that you built and the feeling that the world and the nation have about Arizona Basketball stems from you. You being here means the world. Thank you very much.'
'I also would like to thank the entire university and the Tucson community, all of the Wildcat faithful for having both the patience and the belief in me. To allow me to sit here as your new basketball coach, I'm not only excited, I'm very honored. In particular, I would like to thank Jim Livengood, Dr. Shelton and his wife, Adrian, and Paul Weitman for their efforts and hospitality during the process of making this possible.'
'I know I'm going to answer a lot of questions, but the one thing I want to make sure I cover with everyone here is that I went through a difficult process in my own mind of leaving Xavier University and I really wanted to do it the right way because we all have those special relationships and places that mean a lot in the way of kind of defining moments in our lives. My eight years at Xavier University really defines me in a lot of ways. My family really enjoyed our time there. If you just take a quick snapshot of our eight years there, we went to two Elite Eights and a Sweet Sixteen. That's a pretty good job for a program in the Atlantic 10 Conference that has to overcome some odds.'
'Once that process went through my mind and I moved on to have the opportunity to coach at one of the premier basketball programs in all of college basketball. Twenty-five straight years of making the NCAA Tournament, five Final Fours, numerous dozens of Pac-10 titles, a national championship, that's why I'm here, to be able to build on Coach Olson's legacy and move us through this transition period and continue to have that great success that you deserve with the incredible investment that your community makes in our program. With that, I'll be more than happy to take any questions from any of you.'
Regarding the length of the contractJL: 'The contract by Arizona Board of Regents can only be five years. We're working through the issue of adding two after we get through year one or two. That part of it is being addressed and actually has been addressed for the most part. That won't be an issue. The signing bonus is on the term sheet. That's probably all I will say about it right now.'
Regarding the extra two years to the contractJL: '(The two years) were added during our negotiations. Everything as you all know in here has to be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents. So all of these kinds of things until we get to that point are handshake (agreements).'
Regarding reports Miller had turned down job, then accepted on MondayJL: 'Back up about the part of going to bed; I'm not sure when that occurred.'SM: 'I think one of the things that gets overlooked in coaching searches is that we make decisions that impact so many people, as a coach I will talk on my own behalf. Not only the people on my left, but also the players that you currently coach, the team that you will be coaching the following season and relationships. You're really asked to make a decision in a two day period of time or three day period of time. I don't know if there's any decision that has to be made that affects that many people that has to be made that quickly. I don't know if I said no. I don't know if I completely said yes. In fairness to Jim, I flew a long way on a plane, all the way from Cincinnati out here and then back and it just takes some time as the person making the decision to be able to figure out what's right and what's wrong and take a deep breath and really reflect on it. Jim was really at the mercy of me trying to take a little bit longer and not necessarily changing my mind but making sure because this is a great decision. When a new coach shows up here, you want him to be ready to go. I know what the expectations are and I wanted to make sure that I was that guy and that's why the process might have seemed a little unique.'JL: 'I think Sean articulated that very well is that the expectation is that if you want somebody and you ask them, then immediately the answer will be a turnaround yes or no type of thing and it just doesn't happen like that. One of the reasons that Sean was and is and we're so excited about having him here is because of that process and that he involved everyone in it. It involved his wonderful family, the university, the players and those kind of things. I know that sounded like an exhausting amount of time, and it was, but it was for all the right reasons.
Regarding the last two weeks and the hiring processJL: 'It was an incredibly exhausting period of time. The most important thing in my mind was trying to make sure we got the right fit for this university and this program and for Tucson as well. The outside factors, the outside influences are always about quickness and speed. Hurry, hurry, hurry, and it just can't be done that way. The multitude of emails that I received in regards to, and I'm not trying to be facetious in this, my ancestry and where I might have come from is brutal. It's absolutely brutal in terms of those, but it's about focusing on the end. I think one of the things, and I've talked to a lot of my A.D. colleagues about this, one of the things that made it even harder this year is the speed at which Kentucky went about their search. It's a different search, a different day, a different time, but the insinuation was that every search would be like that and it just doesn't work. It was an interesting time, but I'm so happy and so pleased that Sean and Amy and the boys are here and are going to be absolutely great for this university.'
Difficulty of hearing many names mentioned with Arizona coaching positionJL: 'It didn't spoil it for me, but the thing I worried about always was spoiling it for our tremendous fan base, our tremendous donor base and people who care so much about this university and care about Arizona Basketball because it became very painful and very hard to hear names of coaches who had reportedly turned the job down and yet I know I had never talked to them, they had never been offered and quite candidly they had never been formally contacted. All of a sudden, that was one of the dangers of the things we live with in this day and age. Once it's out there out on the internet, it's pretty much reported to be gospel. That's the way it is. That's the hard part for our fans, our alums and certainly our donor bases.'
Regarding taking over for a legend like Lute OlsonSM: 'It's humbling, it's very humbling. I would by lying if I didn't say it that way. It's also what drives you to come and take this opportunity because very few programs have a single coach with the legacy that Coach Olson left. You look at some of the amazing accomplishments that he had, but the period of time that he coached here, looking at almost a quarter of a century of success. To be that next coach, so to speak, outside of this transition period, is an honor and comes with a lot of responsibility and is the reason why I'm here today. To leave the place and the situation that I had, I wanted to come to a program where I felt like we could compete for a national championship, where it's been proven and where it's been done before, where you have all the support in the world, where you walk out there on game night and that home court has an aura about it. I played in (McKale Center). I played against Coach. He probably doesn't remember, but I was here in the Fiesta Bowl Tournament and Sean Elliott had about seven dunks in a row. It was so loud in this building and that was in 1988 I believe. That's a long period of time for me to remember that feeling. That's the one thing I thought about when Jim and I first talked is about McKale Center and what it means. I didn't realize that at one point recently we had won 71 home games in a row. I thought we were doing well at Xavier. It's an incredible opportunity and it's one that I'm grateful to be sitting here talking about.'
Deciding factors of leaving Xavier and coming to TucsonSM: 'You look at the success under leadership that was the same for so long. The passion that this community has for our basketball program with 14,500 I believe is the sell-out. I was looking in the media guide and that number sign next to about 15 years in a row. There are not too many programs in the nation that have the support and then in addition to the quality of winning and doing it the right way. Like any young coach who admires the older coaches, the coaches who have done it the right way, for me to be here and to have Coach Olson sitting here is really a great time in my life and it's something that I'm really looking forward to continuing.'
Moving from a pro sports town to being the main attraction in Tucson and the scrutinySM: 'I think that great success is going to be followed closely. That's part of the responsibility we all have here. I'll also tell you that college basketball where I came from is revered. When you look at the area we were in, competition in that area may be as strong as any in the United States. Within really a 200-mile radius you have Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State, Cincinnati and you put little old Xavier in there. Competition in recruiting, competition for support, for me it's a great way to really learn if you can do this and how much you love it. The scrutiny there was pretty thick as well. I'll also tell you that expectations at Xavier were very high. We came this year from a Sweet Sixteen and arguably one shot away from our second back-to-back Elite Eight. I believe the team that they have there next year has a chance to do that and even more. The bar from where I came from is high and I believe the bar here is even higher and that's the only reason I left was to take on that challenge.
Regarding athletic department being self-sufficient and not being supported through state budget dollarsJL: 'I think it's important that we make sure everybody is on the same page that we're not talking about tuition dollars and we're not talking about state dollars. We're not talking about anything connected that would be a hindrance to public education or higher education. We have been self-sufficient, we will remain self-sufficient and we need to be. At the same time, the importance of getting that message out that we're probably going to repeat over and over again. This is college athletics, this is college basketball and we have a great university here and a state that is going through very difficult times as well. But, that part in that we need to do a better job is that these are all self-generated funds. To be able to attract a young man and a young family like this to do the kinds of things that we want to do moving ahead, this is absolutely critical.'
Regarding recruiting challengesSM: 'I think it's is a critical time for us to make great decisions. If you look at it and you have available scholarships, the tendency is at times to strike and to make sure you fill the roster with new bodies and make sure that everyone feels good about 13 scholarships being filled. The reality is that right now, the way I feel about it and the way we will do it is that every person that gets a full scholarship has to be a person of high character, a person that fits the way we play, a person that can compete down the road for Pac-10 championships and be that player and part of the team that can move through the NCAA Tournament. Sometimes in the spring there are not a lot of those guys out there. The ones we recruit will fit that description and we want to make sure that we're patient to take the right type of player. As you know, that really defines where we go from here. The other part at this time of year is you don't always have to recruit the class of 2009. Sometimes when you just get to a place and people love Arizona Basketball, since I've been named the head coach, I guess about an hour ago, and in between leaving and coming, I have had players and people that we have been recruiting all of a sudden reach out to me. That's not necessarily out here. That's everywhere and that's the one striking part about our program here is that it's amazing to me where the greatest players at this university have come from: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Chicago and obviously up and down the entire West Coast. We're going to be selective and most importantly we have to take the players that can do what we want to do. If that's not in the class of 2009, we're going to be patient and take the right ones in the class of 2010 and maybe have more time instead of trying to rush and watch someone play for once. The other thing for me that's really crucial is that I have to get a great feel for our current team. It's so hard to make decisions about the future when you don't have a feel for the now. You will learn more about my style, but one of the things that I take great pride in and our staff will is that there's nothing more important than the players. Nothing. It's not even close. If you treat the players the right way, they will run through a wall for you. If you do everything you can to make sure they develop on and off the court, in return the team will build itself. Part of making the players the center of what we do is future players in recruiting and also the former players. When you look at it like that, there's nothing more important than the ones who have done it here already, the ones that are currently here and the ones that are eventually going to come here. That's really at the epicenter of everything we talk about and I think your question is a great one because that's the name of the game for us right now is to make great decisions on who we bring in.'
Regarding justification of $2 million salary in light of state budget cutsJL: 'I justify it from a standpoint that I believe and I have a number of colleagues who believe that college athletics is a part of our fiber and a very important thing. There are places where you couldn't. If somebody were to list the worst possible time to be hiring a major player in terms of our men's basketball coach or a major type of component, this economy regardless of where in the United States you are but particularly in the West, this would be the worst possible time. But, we didn't pick the time. We have to relate to the time and we have to do the very best job that we can. For the most part, it's very hard to ever be able to rationally say it is what it is. What we're trying to do, my responsibility is to do the best job I can for Arizona Athletics, our 19 sports, our 500 student-athletes and our programs. That doesn't mean that I don't care about what we're doing at this university because I deeply do. Our president, our provost and our faculty know that as well. There's really not an answer that I could give that somebody would say, `Yeah, well, that's ok then.''
Regarding where funding comes from and economic impact of the programJL: 'The money comes from a lot of sources. Obviously gate receipts, television, fundraising, all of those kinds of things, which in some context are all privately raised. With that part of it, Arizona Athletics would not survive and would not exist if it were dependent right now on public funds meaning state and/or university funds. It just would not happen. So that part right there, it's my and our responsibility to keep that moving. One of the things before I address the economic part of athletics in terms of the community, one of the things that we need to keep doing is making sure that our programs are competitive. Those program where revenue generation is absolutely paramount, we have to make sure that our coaches are the best we can get and our teams are the best we can get and so on. The other part of it I think goes without saying. Arizona Athletics is incredibly important to this community in many ways, but from a financial standpoint, as well. It is an economic engine. The more kinds of things that we can do that can be viewed as successful, in other words academically with student-athletes, certainly athletically with regards to wins and losses, all of those things add to this great community. The Wildcats are the Wildcats are the Wildcats.
Regarding relationship with Arizona State head coach Herb SendekSM: 'I spent seven years with Herb Sendek both at Miami of Ohio, really my first start, and at North Carolina State. My younger brother is currently an assistant coach at Ohio State and played for Coach Sendek at N.C. State and actually worked with him at Arizona State. I respect him a great deal and I consider him a fantastic coach and at the same time I know where I'm at. I know what my job is. I know that to win a Pac-10 title when you're in a conference with a friend, on that given night your job is to win and so is his. I also really looked at what he's been able to do in their program in a very short period of time and it gives you great confidence that if you do it the right way, which is something he does, that it can be done. At a place like this where we're at, it can really be done. I keep going back to just trying to mix in some things that I really thought about as I came here. It was hard for me to remember all of the names of the great NBA players that have played here. Do you realize how uncommon that is? When you look at Arizona when comparing to anybody, I don't care if it's a Pac-10 team or if it's North Carolina that just won a national championship. You look at names like Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas, Marcus Williams, Mike Bibby, Jerryd Bayless, Andre Iguodala. And I'm missing guys, like Luke Walton. That amazing run over a long period of time allows you to know as a coach two things. One, you really better be recruiting to keep things going, but most importantly there's a reason why all those guys have come here. They are attracted to a brand, they are attracted to an arena, they are attracted to a great university and that's what is most exciting for me to be the new coach.'
Composition of the coaching staffSM: 'One thing that I'm working through is one of my assistant coaches is trying to become the head coach at Xavier and I'm hopeful that happens. I think he would be a great choice. If it does happen, by him staying there I won't have a clear picture of who will be able to come. Certainly I have several positions that will probably be open. If he does not get the job, I want to surround myself with people who know our system. I believe in our system. It works. I want our staff to not have to learn a system. I want our staff to be able to teach people like Nic Wise the system and eliminate that learning curve. Great familiarity will be associated with our staff and if Chris Mack doesn't come here and is the head coach at Xavier, I will be looking for someone who is maybe a little bit more familiar with the West Coast, but I look as Arizona as national. I think if you do a great job and you do things the right way, you're going to have the opportunity to recruit the best student-athletes in this country.'
Regarding any items that helped make decision easierSM: 'There was no deal-maker. It was the total package. I appreciate what Jim has done and the support because it is going to be an initial period where we're going to have to work to get better. We're going to have to really do a great job recruiting. I also want to say this: I'm not the guy that's going to come in here and all of a sudden look at our current roster and say `They aren't good enough' or `We have to get better guys.'' The players that are here, we're going to coach them, they're going to work hard and like I said earlier, my primary focus is to make sure that if you're a part of our program right now that you have a great experience. Some of these guys could now be playing for their fourth coach in four years. That's tough. If I'm their fourth coach, I want them to have a lasting memory of their last coach treating them right. That doesn't mean they aren't going to work real hard and be held accountable, but how they're treated and working hard to make them the best they can be is really at the forefront of all the thoughts and decisions that we make.'
Qualities about Sean Miller that made him possible candidate for coaching positionJL: 'I think everything. The amazing thing about Sean is that everybody looks at his coaching experience, which is outstanding. They look at what he's done in his time at Xavier as a head coach and it seems like everybody just got better and better. Sean Miller has an outstanding reputation as a coach. What really excited me a number of months ago when he first came on the radar, which was probably right after the first of the year, is that everybody you talk to about Sean Miller without exception, and I thought this was amazing, said he's a great, young coach who is absolutely star-bound in this profession. He's a better person even than he is as a coach. I mean everybody. It's hard to find people in the coaching profession or in the athletic profession where somebody doesn't have something bad to say about someone for some sort of reason, self-serving or whatever. It's hard to find someone who doesn't have great admiration and I think a big part of that which comes out very clearly when you spend any time at all with Sean is that how he treats people. That part of it was a seller. The harder part was that people said you weren't going to get him. He had coming back, and I'm glad I can put a 'D' on that word, had coming back the best team in the history of Xavier University, and he built it. He created it. That was a part to leave that and that's hard. The relationships, the kids he recruited.
Approaching program with high expectations, but facing rebuildingSM: 'Most importantly, it's important that I come here with a true system. What I mean by a system is that there's no experimenting. Every phase of our program has been put to the test and it works. It's not just recruiting. Today, recruiting is the hot word and it's the name of the game to get the right people. Part of it is, for example, what happens in the Spring. Your strength and conditioning program when the season ends is going to be different than your strength and conditioning program in the summer when they are here for a part of the summer or entire summer. It's going to be much different in the Fall when you lead into the beginning of the season. Making players better is not just team practice. What's your philosophy of making them better before the season, during the season and after the season. For me, I have great confidence in the system I bring here from Xavier and some of the places that I have been. I think that's the most exciting part about it. I think it's a system that you all will really enjoy. Style of play, for example, we don't walk the ball up the court. There are always times when you need to slow it down and take your time and score, but when I watched Arizona play in my time as a player, the thing that I really enjoyed was the freedom that Coach Olson gave his players. It was a terrific blend of allowing these talented players to be themselves and yet have the proper amount of structure. You will enjoy the way we play offense. I want pace, I want movement. The more the ball moves, the more players move, to me it makes it harder to guard. It's team play. I think in my time as the head coach at Xavier, generally we had four double-figure scorers, a very strong balance because of the way we played. Flipping it and continuing to answer this question about our system, defensively you have to be able to get stops. For example, this year in the NCAA Tournament, when you see Wisconsin on the board as your next opponent, if you can't play defense you have no chance against them because the game is going to be a grindout, physical game. I love the fact that we can play slow when we need to, defensively, but we can also play against teams that can push it and play fast. I don't have all of the answers, but I do totally believe in the system and the style of play. It's going to be so much more about do what we do and get great at it then worrying about changing or worrying about who we're playing. Over the long haul, as long as we continue to recruit the right players and treat them right and develop them, success will follow, especially at a place like I said that has had such great success before I ever showed up.'
Process of the coaching searchJL: 'Many people suggested (the search) was longer than five months and actually had the day count down, but it was just exactly that. I said from day one that the hardest thing that we have to do is know that it's going to be a long process in terms of the exposure of coaches and all kinds of things. And yet, it gives the chance to look at an awful lot of different coaches. When it gets right down to it, that five or five and a half or whatever the exact time was, in terms of what we had, when you really get down to it, it really comes down into a matter of days and short weeks. It does depend on when teams get done playing and who isn't in the tournament and so on. That eliminated a number of people as being off people's lists. When we got down into that final part, that latter part of February and first part of March, I had a pretty good idea at least in my mind who would be the great fits. Then what it becomes is a talking period where I wouldn't be able to visit with the coach until they were done playing. That's where C.M. and Martin became so incredibly important. At the end of the day, you have to at some point in time zero in on and that's why I'm so thankful that we zeroed back and circled back if you will. This young man is just too good in too many ways. I think in recruiting it becomes a great thing when the student-athlete is a fit for the university and the university is a fit for the student-athlete. I think exactly in the same terms when it comes to a coach or a staff member when it's also a great fit for the staff member and a great fit for the university. The problem now is everything is so public and so open. It is amazing in terms of the non-ability to move anywhere and not have somebody know about that movement. I'm not being critical of it because that's the real world, but in some ways it does hamper some of the things that you are able to do. It's not like the old days when you could have conversations and visits and find out things. We're here today.'
Regarding waiting for the Arizona job and not taking other positions in the pastSM: 'It was easy for me to hold off because I was at a great place and the only way I was going to leave that place was if I was going to come to a program that has had this type of success, that has proven that they can win a national championship, that has gone to Final Fours, that has proven that they can recruit nationally. Clearly, having the opportunity to be the coach at one of the best places in the country is what I was willing to hold out for. When this opportunity came, it clearly for me met everything there. Like I said earlier, I'm very honored and fortunate to be here. I know the expectations. When you make a right and go down a street called National Championship Drive, I think that says it all about where you are at. Clearly I'm really excited to be here.'
First order of business as Arizona head coachSM: 'Number one priority for me is the players. I've had an opportunity to meet a couple of them informally already, and the most important meeting today, besides saying hello to everyone here at this press conference is the meeting I'm going to have with our team. I only say it's important because I know those guys have been through an awful lot. Coming from a place where I've coached players where they have had great continuity recently, I'm looking forward to providing some of that continuity for those guys. They will like our system. I'm confident of that. It's just a matter of `I don't know you, you don't know me.' There has to be a little blind faith. I'm also on my end excited to have a chance to work out with them. I'm a long ranger here, I'm here alone. But the next three or four days I plan on working them out some and I want them to get a feel for me and me to get a feel for them. In that team meeting, I'm just going to put it on the line about how we do things and what they have to look forward to. They are at a great place and it's just a matter of putting a system and a coaching staff in to get this thing moving forward. First order of business and clearly most important, that and letting my family see things. I have to be the most popular Dad in America today. When we got up, it was 33 degrees and snowing. These guys landed and they are ready to go swimming. I know that's one thing I did right today.'
Regarding players who were being recruited to XavierSM: 'By NCAA rules, I can't comment on anyone who isn't here right now. My biggest concern besides doing things right here on day one at Arizona is making sure that everybody I just left is well taken care of. There will never be any of that and it's just a matter of us moving forward. We're a long way from Cincinnati now, so I'm looking forward to moving on to that next chapter.'
First conversation between Miller and Livengood at airportJL: 'Yes I had (talked to Sean Miller) and I had watched him coach, so I was impressed with that. Was I confident that he was going to show up for that flight? I tell you what, the longer that I'm in this profession, I'm never confident about anything until it happens. When it happens, I feel reasonably sure right now that we have a phenomenal basketball coach.'SM: 'You should be very sure.'JL: 'Good. I was hoping that would be the answer. Sean, thank you for saying that. Conversation was good. The hardest thing with regards to Sean Miller is you're talking to a person who has a great job, not a good job, at a great university and works with and for a great A.D. All of those things are in place that make it very difficult. There's no reason for him to want to go anywhere else with as good as it is and also returning a great team. So the conversation centers around the kinds of things of what you could be coming to and the possibilities that exist at Arizona. He was very receptive to that as Sean always is, he's incredibly polite. He is just as any of you would expect. Great conversation and that conversation hopefully led us to today.'
Arizona Player Reaction to New Head Coach Sean Miller
Freshman Guard Brendon Lavender'I'm really excited about playing for Sean Miller. I like his style of play. Right now the biggest thing is just getting to know him. We have a team meeting later today. The one thing I am trying to do is play hard so he will notice me and hopefully get some playing time next season.'
Freshman Forward D. J. Shumpert'I'm really excited about the hiring of Coach (Sean) Miller. Kyle (Fogg) and I actually got to meet Coach Miller earlier and he told us that he was excited for the opportunity and he was looking forward to coaching us. I can't wait to get back on the court to show him what I can do.
Sophomore Forward Jamelle Horne'He seems like a real humble coach despite all of his success at Xavier. He's a players' coach and someone who should be enjoyable to play for.'
Former Wildcat and Suns General Manager Steve Kerr'I think the hiring of Sean Miller as the new basketball coach at Arizona is a great move. I'm really excited about the direction we are heading because Sean is a great coach who understands the tradition of Arizona basketball. I think he will do a great job.'
'The only direction we can go is up. I thought Russ (Pennell) did a phenomenal job last season. I'm confident that Sean will get the type of players we have expected here at Arizona. This is a big day for Sean and the Wildcat family.'