Arizona Basketball Notebook

Sean Miller

Sean Miller met with the media on Wednesday. Read on to see what he said about staff changes, team chemistry, and more.

  • Arizona has had a handful of players on campus this summer and Sean Miller went into details about the players' schedules.

    "Quite a few of our players will be here this weekend," he said. "Summer I begins on Monday. Right now we are at the end of Pre-Session and we have four players in Pre-Session. Dusan Ristic, Elliott Pitts, Gabe York, and T.J. McConnell. Gabe and T.J. are going to go home for Summer I, so they will be back right after the 4th of July for Summer II.

    "This weekend Craig Victor comes, Parker Cartwright, and Rondae will be back. Seven or eight of our players will be here for Summer I and then for Summer II, our entire team will be here."

  • Brandon Ashley continues to make progress in his rehabilitation and seems to be right on schedule.

    "He will return to school this weekend," Miller said. "He got hurt on February 1, so if you look at it from that context, he is a little bit over four months since he was injured. These four months was really about healing and allowing everything to take shape. The one thing he has done is that he has started to walk underneath water and now he has begun to run underneath. He has less and less soreness.

    "I think we look at June, July, and really August as being pivotal and I think we would like to see him be able to return to form and be out there. Brandon has done a really good job in a difficult situation of taking it slow. It's not easy doing nothing and that is really what he had to do for a period of time. He's lifting weights and when he comes back he's going to be on a mission to returning back to five-on-five full court.

    "Once he does that we have to be smart making sure we push him and yet not push him too much, but so far so good with Brandon. We expect a full recovery, not only here but allowing him to leave Arizona and have a long career beyond."

  • The Pac-12 has three new coaches for this upcoming season and Miller has been around two of them.

    "I know each of them in a different light, but I think it has done nothing but make our conference better," Miller said. "Ernie Kent went to the Elite Eight a number of times at Oregon and for a period of time Oregon was as good of a team in the country. You can already feel his presence at Washington State. I know Ernie in particular is very excited after taking a couple of years off.

    "Cuonzo Martin I know from my time in the Midwest. Just an incredibly tough minded basketball player when he played at Purdue and he is similar in his approach as a coach. His teams are really good defensively, physical, and take on his personality. I think his brand of basketball will be a difficult opponent for us. Wayne (Tinkle) I don't know as well, but I know he has had great success at Montana and it seems through his comments he has a real identity."

  • Last season has been described as a successful one by Miller, but he took the opportunity to reflect on the over team chemistry and relate it to this upcoming season.

    "I've looked back on it several times," he said. "One of the things that is really striking is we lost five games by 12 points. Losing five games is difficult to do that in a long season like we had, but it is almost like every game that we lost came down to the final play, which I think made our season that much more dramatic.

    "As talented as we were as a team, a big part of our success was our overall chemistry. We really did play as a team, we had a lot of players take a lot of pride in defense, a number of players sacrifice. It was that unselfishness and team chemistry coupled with our talent that let us have the season that we did."

  • Assistant Director of Basketball Operations Danny Peters has been hired as an assistant coach at Ball State and Miller has already decided who his replacement will be.

    "That's what this is about," Miller said. "James left here to be a head coach at Ball State and obviously it makes perfect sense why he would want Danny as part of his staff.

    "As important for me, since Ben has left, he's worked at Walsh University for an incredible coach and that coach raves about him. And this past year he worked for (College of Idaho coach) Scott Garson, a former UCLA assistant in Boise. They rave about his work ethic and his mind for the game and we brought Ben in this past weekend.

    "That's an important position because they wear many hats, they're a big part of our scouting and our coaching from the perspective of teaching the players our system. They have to have a great basketball mind. That's what we had with Danny Peters and I think we've continued that with Ben Tucker."

  • In addition, Joseph Blair will be back on the bench next season.

    "He was a great addition to this past year, especially with our front court players," Miller said. "There's more front court players on our team than there were a year ago and I think J.B. will continue to be an asset for us this year. He'd be a terrific coach, whether college or the NBA because he has such an incredible way with players. They love him."

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