TUCSON, Ariz. - In his first public comments since the Arizona basketball season ended, Sean Miller met with the assembled media on Thursday afternoon. In what was the most tumultuous season in Arizona basketball history, things felt relatively back to normal.
Miller addressed new coaches and new players, as well as what he says to recruits with the ongoing FBI investigation (he wouldn't comment). But he also took time to gush on Deandre Ayton, who is perhaps the greatest player to ever come through the program. “I look at the NBA as trying to figure out who they’re going to pick from No. 2 to 60. I think the No. 1 pick’s in,” said Miller. Adding that he hopes to be with Ayton and his family come draft day on June 21st.
Miller's high praise of Ayton is something new. He spent all of last season reiterating what he said on Thursday: "There is nobody like Deandre, nobody." Ayton is projected to be the number 1 overall draft pick in the NBA draft, and he might end up staying close to Tucson. As the Phoenix Suns hold the top pick. Miller also added that if they didn't take Ayton at no.1, it would be a mistake.
Miller also shed some light on what went wrong in the NCAA tournament, in their tumultuous season. “I think the totality of our season, beginning in the fall and getting through the Pac-12 Tournament, took a toll on all of us,” Miller said. “I don’t know if we necessarily entered this year’s NCAA Tournament the most excited, eager, ready, happy that we could have been as a group.” Despite playing their best basketball of the season in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas, the Wildcats were ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Buffalo as a 4 seed..."They beat us. I’m not sure they weren’t the better team. They had a lot of answers."
The Wildcats will add coaches Justin Gainey, and Danny Peters. They'll also add Brandon Williams, Omar Thielemans, Ryan Luther and Devonaire Doutrive to the roster. It is unclear if the Wildcats will fill their final scholarship roster spot.