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Arizona’s top 9 candidates to replace Sean Miller after his dismissal

Arizona sacked basketball head coach Sean Miller on Wednesday, which ended a 12-year run with the program.

The Wildcats were 302-109 in the streak, and that included three appearances in Elite Eight. Arizona did not make the 2020-21 NCAA tournament due to a self-imposed ban, and the next coach could face more NCAA fallout in the future.

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It’s still top-notch work within the Pac-12. The Wildcats are still looking for that first Final Four appearance since 2001. Here is a list of coaches who could fill this high level position.

Arizona Head Coaching Candidates

Best bets

Damon Stoudamire, Pacific coach

Stoudamire is said to be the most recognizable name for Wildcats fans. He was a point guard for the Arizona Final Four, enjoyed a successful career in the NBA, and has spent the past five seasons coaching the Pacific. He’s started a rebuild with the Tigers, who are 32-19 the last two seasons. It’s a big step forward, but Stoudamire could be successful in the long run.

Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech Coach

Pastner would be another candidate within the family. He played on the 1997 National Championship team, and was an assistant at Arizona from 2002-2008. He compiled a 249-148 record between stints at Memphis and Georgia Tech. Pastner’s teams have five tournament appearances and haven’t made it to Sweet 16, so that would be a concern. Georgia Tech was also banned from the playoffs last season.

Miles Simon, LA Lakers assistant

Think of Juwan Howard in Michigan. Simon, also a member of that 1997 national championship team, spent four seasons as an assistant in Arizona from 2005-2008. He’s been an assistant coach with the Lakers since 2017, and that LeBron James connection is enough on its own to make it happen. register with recruits. Simon knows the program and knows what it’s like to be a star on a national championship team. He is therefore one of the best candidates.

Joe Pasternack, UC-Santa Barbara coach

It depends on whether Arizona will try to distance itself from the Miller era. Pasternack was an assistant at Arizona from 2011 to 2017, and he enjoyed a stint with UC-Santa Barbara. The Gauchos are 88-34 over the past four seasons and have just made their way to the NCAA tournament. This success could easily follow Pasternack to Tucson.

Other candidates

Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga assistant coach

It’s becoming clear that Mark Few is unlikely to be leaving Gonzaga anytime soon. And one of his best assistants? Lloyd has been with the Bulldogs since 2001, and the 46-year-old is set to take the next step soon. Gonzaga became the West Coast’s premier program, and Lloyd could bring those lessons to the Pac-12.

John Beilein, Big Ten Network analyst

Beilein brings immediate credibility to a program, and his name appears in all major coaching research. Beilein, 68, helped revive Michigan’s program, and if the coaching urge is still there after the brief stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, then he could arrange a move out West. It worked for UCLA and Mick Cronin. Beilein is the best coach on the board, but he may be content to stay in the studio at this point in his career.

Brian Dutcher, San Diego State Coach

If the Wildcats can’t get Beilein, then they could try a former Michigan assistant. Dutcher spent most of his coaching career behind Steve Fisher at Michigan and San Diego State, and he turned the first head coaching position into a success with a 96-31 record at San Diego State in the over the past four seasons. Dutcher, 61, could bring that to Arizona. It doesn’t have the big-name cachet of some of the other contenders, but that shouldn’t matter.

Bryce Drew, Grand Canyon Coach

Drew’s name is hot considering what Baylor has accomplished this season, and Bryce has led the Grand Canyon to an NCAA tournament appearance. The Antelopes did so with a stifling defense that allowed 62.1 points per game. Drew was 40-59 in three seasons at Vanderbilt, but there are more resources to work with in Arizona. It’s another hire that could excite the fan base.

Kyle Smith, Washington State Coach

Smith is another name that wouldn’t get too much enthusiasm, but could be the right fit. He’s led Washington State to a nearly 0.500 high over the past two seasons, and the program is booming. Smith had five 20-game winning seasons in nine years at Columbia and San Francisco before that, and that grassroots makeover might be just what Arizona needs.

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