Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats hoops: Names of potential replacements surfacing for Pasternack on Miller’s staff


First came the tweet a couple of days ago that former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar may be a target for the vacant Arizona assistant coaching position with Joe Pasternack off to Cal Santa Barbara as the head coach.

Sounds logical enough with Romar’s extensive coaching background and his strength as a recruiter. Lute Olson would offer his stamp of approval. The former rival coaches in the Pac-10 remain good friends to this day.

The move could open doors once again for Arizona to recruit the Pacific Northwest, a fertile area that gave the Wildcats greats such as Damon Stoudamire and Salim Stoudamire from Portland and Jason Terry and Michael Dickerson from Seattle.

Romar has also recruited in the last two to three years the likes of Markelle Fultz, Michael Porter Jr., Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss.

Because of that recruiting prowess, Romar may be in line more for another head coaching position, most likely at a mid-major.

Another name for the Arizona coaching vacancy that was presented to me yesterday was UCLA assistant David Grace, a noted strong recruiter on the West coast.

Grace, a 20-year Air Force veteran, has Arizona roots as a high school and AAU coach.

He was the head coach at Phoenix South Mountain High School, where he guided the Jaguars to a 5A Division II state championship in his second year, in 2006, compiling a 29-4 overall record.

Grace was honored as the 2005-06 ArizonaVarsity.com and Arizona Informant 5A Coach of the Year after turning around a struggling program that had won four games the season before he arrived. Several players from his program moved on to play college basketball.

UCLA assistant David Grace has a background in Arizona as a high school and AAU coach (UCLA photo)

He also co-founded the Arizona Magic AAU program. His top team finished eighth out of 337 programs in the Reebok Big Time Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., which was the best finish in the history of any AAU team from Arizona.

He went on to be an assistant at Oregon State and UCLA.

On a lighthearted note, Mike Luke of Sports Radio 1290-AM, posted this satirical tweet about Kevin O’Neill’s possible candidacy for the job:

Not a chance. Look for Miller to hire an assistant who has exceptional recruiting abilities. Romar and Grace certainly fit that mold, but there are others out there.

Don’t fret.

Miller can certainly recruit five-star prospects. He will definitely land an assistant who will make Arizona fans excited of what lies ahead, along with the abilities of current assistants Mark Phelps and Book Richardson.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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