Ever since the end of Arizona’s dissapointing basketball season and the departure of Josiah Turner, listening to callers chime in to the local sports radio now requires me to carry a bottle of Advil in my car so that I can reduce the frequent headaches.
“What is Miller doing with this program? He will not take it anywhere.”
“Miller is obviously doing something wrong with as many players that have transferred since he has taken over.”
“Letting Josiah Turner go was a mistake. Miller has lost control of his team.”
This stuff makes my ears bleed, because it shows that–though most Tucsonans know their basketball, and know it well–there is a group out there that has no clue what they are talking about. There is a fraction of the Wildcat population that believes they have seen the end of Arizona basketball as we know it because of one dissapointing (23 win) season. Let me enlighten this group with a few factual details that have somehow escaped their extensive research into the subject.
For those that think Miller doesn’t know what he is doing, please compare the first three seasons he has had with the first three seasons Lute Olson had when he first arrived. Miller actually has 14 more wins on his belt than Olson did his first three years in Tucson. Miller has already taken Arizona to an Elite 8 and won a Pac-12 championship; it took Olson five seasons to get past the first round of the Big Dance. I think it would be fair to say that Lute knew what he was doing. He ended up taking us to a few nice places.
Remember: Patience is a virtue.
For those that think things are obviously falling apart due to all the transfers, please refer to Greg Hansen’s recent article From it, you will learn that the same thing happened during the Olson era–frequently. Star players bolt for the NBA. Good players concerned about future playing time bolt to schools where they can get more (good players on the bench means better players on the floor). Some overhyped players, for whatever reason, just don’t work out.
Remember: The departure of players comes with the territory of being successful.
And then there is Josiah Turner. For those that think Miller should have simply bowed to Turner’s bad attitude for the sake of the team’s winning percentage, please refer to how that strategy has worked out for Ben Howland and his UCLA Bruins. You may also remember that Lute never put up with any of that nonsense either, and it didn’t matter how big of a deal the player was. It was not uncommon for a fan to say, “Uh oh, looks like Salim is in Lute’s Doghouse again. Good for Lute.” By making the 0 tolerance policy made known often and early, Miller is setting the tone and making it extremely clear what the expectations are for future players: I don’t care how many people have wiped your behind in the past; when you put on that Wildcat jersey, you will play by my rules.
Remember: Instead of calling the local sports radio show, consider taking a deep breath instead. You will save me and Advil.