A New Era For Arizona Basketball

AP Photo/Young Kwak

A new era for Arizona the men’s basketball team begins with the hiring of Tommy Lloyd. The former assistant coach at Gonzaga was emotional while he was introduced as the Wildcats head coach during his first press conference. 

Despite being next-in-line for the head coaching job at Gonzaga, Lloyd knew when he got the call from Arizona that it was too good to pass up. 

“This is the only place I would leave Gonzaga to come,” Lloyd said. “To be the head coach at the University of Arizona”

Lloyd feels the weight of pressure he is tackling coming into this new position filling the shoes of Sean Miller. Miller was very successful in his time as the Wildcats head coach. In the last 12 seasons, Miller boasted a 302-109 record while leading the Wildcats to seven NCAA Tournament appearances. 

I understand the tradition and the passion that surrounds the Arizona Basketball program,” Lloyd said. “I know I’m following four decades of incredible success in great coaching.”

Lloyd created a reputation for himself as an elite college basketball recruiter in his 20 years with the Zags. He shared the challenges Gonzaga faced with recruiting and how those hurdles forced him to think outside of the box and begin looking overseas for talent. As Arizona’s new head coach, he plans to build off of his history of recruiting internationally. 

“My job is to get the best fit, highest character, most talented guy for our team,” said Lloyd. “You always have to have that formula. Whether that’s an international guy, a transfer, a junior college kid.” 

The Zags 2020-21 roster had five international players and six players from the Pacific Northwest. Lloyd plans to recruit a mix of students to the Arizona program. 

We’re going to find the best kids for the University of Arizona, no matter if they have a name you can’t pronounce or they’re a kid down the street,” said Lloyd. 

Lloyd also plans to have some staff with Arizona ties as well. While he has not fully begun his hiring process he guaranteed that his staff would have some “Arizona flavor.”