After months of turmoil, the Arizona men’s basketball team has hired its new head coach. Gonzaga head-coach-in-waiting and long-time Bulldogs assistant Tommy Lloyd will take over the Wildcats and lead a battered program.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported that Arizona is “expected to hire” Lloyd soon, but no contract details have become available. Tucson will be just the second coaching destination for the Gonzaga assistant.
The Wildcats will receive one of the best recruiters in college basketball in Lloyd, who’s become known for his ability to land international talent in his two decades with the Bulldogs. Rui Hachimura, Kelly Olynyk, Filip Petrusev, Domantas Sabonis and Killian Tillie all played for Gonzaga thanks to the efforts of the 46-year-old assistant.
Lloyd has spent his entire coaching career alongside Mark Few, joining the Bulldogs in 2001. He’s helped build Gonzaga into the national threat that it is today and was considered by many to be Few’s future successor.
Instead, Lloyd will pursue an opportunity at Arizona, where he’ll be tasked with bringing the men’s basketball program back to its past heights.
Take a look at a few reactions to the hire from around the sports world:
As an Arizona alum, I kind of wanted it to be kept in the family for Lute and the ex-players.
But I think the Wildcats may have hit a home run with the Tommy Lloyd hire. COLUMN: https://t.co/IGK5m0WPOK
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 14, 2021
Congrats to Tommy Lloyd on the head coaching position at Arizona. Well deserved. Wish Gonzaga could have kept him longer. Major loss for the Zags and massive pickup for the Wildcats https://t.co/utUpujbXiE
— Gonzaga Zag Up 🐶⬆️🏀 (@GonzagaZagUp) April 14, 2021
Tommy Lloyd always made the most sense for Arizona with the timing. I like it for them, but it’s a really fascinating hire.
— Aaron Oster (@TheAOster) April 14, 2021
Once upon a time, Arizona wanted to hire Tim Floyd. Tommy Lloyd kinda sounds like the same name.
(Also: Good hire.) https://t.co/rcWfMDyYuc
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) April 14, 2021
Although the hire was generally perceived well in the sports media world, it’s unclear how former Arizona players will feel about Lloyd taking over. Many believed that the new head coach should have gone to someone who has a history with the university, such as former point guard Damon Stoudamire.
Just earlier this week, former Wildcats star Gilbert Arenas implied that an assistant like Lloyd “doesn’t have the credentials” to lead at a program as storied as Arizona. He also backed up the idea that the hire should have come in-house, saying that “anyone that played (at Arizona) should be considered first,” per Tucson.com.
Although Arenas’ assessment of Lloyd’s credentials is incorrect, he voiced the concerns of multiple Wildcats’ alumni. The Arizona program has been loyal to its own over the years, but has now broken from that trend.
Lloyd will have to overcome his position as an outsider and win over the rabid alumni base if he hopes to have a long and productive stay in Tucson.
The post College Basketball World Reacts To Arizona’s Hire appeared first on The Spun.
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