Many in Arizona are just now starting to get used to the fact that the University of Arizona Athletic Director is an Arizona State University Alum. But how would if go over if the new hire for the position as Head Coach for the Arizona State basketball team was an Arizona alum?
It might be weird at first but one person, rivalries aside (which is not easy to do), who won a national championship with the Wildcats believes that a former teammate of his could be a great fit in Tempe.
“I think it could be a great marriage,” ESPN College Hoops Analyst Miles Simon told Brad Cesmat in an interview Wednesday about his former Arizona teammate Josh Pastner. “Josh is a guy that could energize a fan base there. I know personally for the last 20 years, the energy and passion that Josh has for anything that he puts his mind to. He has had great success at Memphis all be it but the NCAA Tournament so far. But he has won a lot of games. We know he can recruit. I could definitely see Josh fitting in there at ASU.”
Of course he is a Wildcat at heart but these days, Simon is an analyst for ESPN and looks at things objectively. Wearing that analyst hat, he sees the new opening at ASU an intriguing one.
“I think it is actually a pretty good job,” mentioned Simon. “I think it is a place where you can win. I follow the recruiting very closely and I think there is talent in the state right now, especially in the greater Phoenix area if you can keep some of those kids home. Namely, Marvin Bagley. You have a great chance to be successful.”
“Great practice facilities, maybe the Arena needs to be upgraded some,” he added. “But if football and softball and baseball and all these other programs can be successful there, there is no reason that hoops can’t either.”
While he might not know him as well at Josh Pastner, Simon knows current Duke Associate Head Coach Jeff Capel well. Capel reportedly off the bat was named one of the front runners for the gig in Tempe after the news of Sendek came down.
“Did a great job at VCU, went to Oklahoma and got Blake Griffin to go there,” explained Simon about Capel. “Has been one of the top recruiters at Duke to get guys like [Jalil] Okafor, Tyus Jones, Jabari Parker over the last couple years. And overall a great individual that I really like.”
Simon has been plugged into the college basketball scene not just as a national analyst but also as he mentioned from a recruiting stand point behind the scenes. He has a very good pulse on the college landscape and off the top of his head without having inside knowledge of ASU’s pursuit of a new coach, rattled off some names he believe could be excellent candidates for the position.
“I think Steve Lavin is a great energy guy,” stated Simon. “If you want to go the assistant coaching route, there is a guy at San Diego State who is really good named Justin Hudson. I don’t know if Mr. [Ray] Anderson, the athletic director at ASU, wants to go that route…Russell Turner at UCI who’s been in the NBA and he got UCI to the NCAA Tournament this year…Maybe Randy Bennett who has been extremely successful at St. Mary’s. Those are a few of the guys who come to mind right away.”