Former National Player of the Year Jason Gardner Joins Arizona Basketball Staff
TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona basketball head coach Tommy Lloyd has announced that former Wildcat standout Jason Gardner will be joining Lloyd's staff as the Director of Player Relations. Gardner was a 4-time All-American, the 2003 National Player of the Year and one of six former Arizona men's basketball players to have his number recognized inside the McKale Center.
"We are excited to have Jason Gardner, an Arizona legend, back in Tucson and part of our program," Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd said. "He unquestionably left his mark on this program as a four-time All-American and national player of the year. I know he is excited to be back in Tucson and give back to his alma mater as a member of our staff."
Following his remarkable career at Arizona, Gardner played professionally overseas for eight seasons. He was named MVP of the German Basketball Bundesliga in 2009 and was a two-time all-star in the Bundesliga.
"First, I want to thank Dave Heeke and Tommy Lloyd for this incredible opportunity to return to an amazing place like the University of Arizona," Gardner said. "This school and this program have a special place in my heart because it gave me so much during my time here as a student-athlete and beyond. There is nothing like game day in the McKale Center with the best fans in college basketball and I can't wait to be back!"
The Indianapolis native got his start in coaching while serving as an assistant coach at Loyola Chicago for two seasons under then-head coach Porter Moser. He then joined the University of Memphis staff as an assistant coach during the 2013-14 season for then-head coach and former Arizona teammate Josh Pastner.
After his one season in Memphis, he was named the head coach at IUPUI served in that role for five seasons (2014-19), guiding them to just their third-ever postseason appearance in 2018-19 when the Jaguars played in the CIT. He ranks third in IUPUI history for wins (64) and was a finalist for the 2019 Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the top Division I minority coach.
Most recently, Gardner served as the head boys basketball coach at his alma mater, North Central High School in Indianapolis, for the 2020-21 season. As a student at North Central, he won a state title, was named the 1999 IndyStar Mr. Basketball and earned McDonald's and Parade All-American honors.
In addition to the accolades already mentioned, Gardner's decorated career at UA saw him earn the Senior CLASS Award and he finished his career as one of four players in Pac-10 history to have 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals. He helped the Wildcats win two Pac-10 regular season titles and one Pac-10 Tournament crown, make four NCAA Tournament appearances – including a national runner-up finish in 2001. As a freshman in 1999-2000, Gardner averaged 12.6 points, 4.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals on his way to being named consensus National Freshman of the Year.
Gardner's name is still all over the statistical records at Arizona, currently ranking third in career scoring (1,984), second in three-point field goals made (318), second in free throws made (516), third in free throw attempts (663), fourth in assists (622), third in steals (225), fourth in games played (136), first in games started (135), first in minutes played (4,825) and fifth in career wins (107).