Nothing But The Notes

Nothing but the notes: Arizona historically has swiftly risen from dire situations

Arizona will survive this mess of Sean Miller allegedly discussing the payment of $100,000 with an agent to land Deandre Ayton as an ESPN report suggests. History within the athletic department suggests a resurgence can take place in the midst of a crisis. The lowest depths Arizona plummeted to occurred when the football program went on probation in 1983 and 1984 because of transgressions that occurred during the Tony Mason era from 1977 to 1979, and when Ben Lindsey’s lone season as Arizona’s basketball coach resulted in an embarrassing 4-24 record in 1982-83. Larry Smith was hired by athletic director Dave Strack and Smith coached Arizona admirably through the probation period with the Wildcats achieving some of their finest accomplishments — starting “The Streak” against ASU and beating No. 1 USC and No. 2 UCLA and winning at No. 9 Notre Dame by 1982. The year after the probation was completed, Arizona played Georgia in the Sun Bowl in 1985. The program thrived in the most dire situation. …

Lute Olson was hired by athletic director Cedric Dempsey after Lindsey was fired. The rest is history after that. If this is indeed Miller’s last season as coach at Arizona, athletic director Dave Heeke can be the second coming of Dempsey. Heeke has already provided hope in the aftermath of Rich Rodriguez’s disastrous exit among sexual harassment charges by hiring Kevin Sumlin. After Smith bolted for conference rival USC because the board of regents did not grant multi-year contracts, Dempsey hired Dick Tomey in 1987. Tomey coached 14 years at Arizona and became the school’s winningest coach. Heeke can also be a savior for the basketball program if Miller is let go. If Heeke can hire Sumlin for a football program searching for an identity, he can certainly hire an established coach to lead Arizona basketball back to unquestioned prominence. …

One of the most unsettling tweets out of many in this bizarre turn of events is Richard Jefferson calling out former Arizona teammate Jason Terry when he responded to a tweet from Dick Vitale.

Here is Terry’s tweet that started this:

Then Vitale’s tweet:

And Jefferson’s response:

The nice, warm fuzzy feeling of “The Players Program” is not so endearing after this exchange. Making it an even more odd exchange: Terry and Jefferson are the players with the longest NBA tenure in Arizona’s history. Terry is in his 19th season and Jefferson his 17th. They have played against each other and been around each other many times over the last 20 years. They are supposed to be elder statesmen for the program. Jefferson continued to respond to Vitale’s toxic tweets about Miller having to pack his bags. For what it’s worth, Miller’s oldest son Austin Miller, a senior student manager with the team, liked this tweet:

The player who started ahead of Terry at Arizona — Mike Bibby — should be on Heeke’s short list if he must look for a replacement for Miller. Bibby is an incredible 101-14 at his alma mater Phoenix Shadow Mountain High School since becoming the head coach in 2014. On Friday, listed Bibby as leading one of the top five public-school programs nationwide over the last five years. Shadow Mountain has not lost to an in-state opponent since Bibby’s first season of 2014-15. The Matadors defeated Salpointe 81-77 on Saturday in the Class 4A state title, clinching their second consecutive state title under Bibby. He would be a significant recruiting draw with his popularity in the state and in college and NBA circles. No doubt players would want to play for him. … Some have tweeted that Steve Kerr should be considered as coach. When the initial fallout took place in the FBI probe, when Book Richardson was arrested in September on federal bribery charges, Kerr mentioned, “There’s a reason I coach in the NBA. I never wanted to be a college coach. I don’t immerse myself in that stuff. The NBA is very pure. We don’t want to make apologies or concessions about what we’re doing. We’re just playing basketball. It’s a business And the NCAA obviously has lots of things to figure out on many levels who they are and what they’re doing.” Asked about the latest developments concerning Miller on Saturday before Golden State played Oklahoma City, Miller told reporters: “I’m disappointed. It’s my school, and I love my school. I don’t really know what else to say.” What would be a good idea in terms of Kerr, when he no longer coaches Golden State: Make him Arizona’s athletic director if Heeke moves on. What better figurehead for Arizona athletics than Kerr? …

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What about Lorenzo Romar staying on as coach? Who knows what will come of Markelle Fultz’s implication in the FBI probe, reportedly receiving a payment from an agent for $10,000 last season. Also, Romar’s No. 1 assistant at Washington, Raphael Chillious is now at UConn, which is under investigation by the NCAA. That news broke Jan. 26. Chillious, hired by UConn coach Kevin Ollie this season after Romar was fired at Washington, recruited Fultz to play with Washington. Are there too many red flags there for Romar to take over? … Lonzo Ball had a peculiar quote for reporters after the Lakers’ game Friday night about the current state of college basketball: “All the money they generate for the programs and stuff, it’s kind of an unfair system. … Everybody knows everybody’s getting paid and that’s how it is. Everybody’s getting paid anyway. You might as well make it legal. That’s how I feel.” Does that implicate UCLA or agents that might have dealt with UCLA players during his one season at Westwood? Former UCLA player Ryan Hollins, now an ESPN Radio personality, mentioned Saturday on the air that “Sean Miller is getting thrown under the bus because a lot of other coaches are doing it (paying players). It’s a joke. They know it. It’s not fair to Sean Miller. He’s getting singled out.” Perhaps. The best remedy is to allow players to have representation when attending school much like other students in different professions are allowed to do. Make the agents have to pay the players. That’s a better alternative than keeping the status quo and having coaches and players break the antiquated NCAA rules. If the agents pay the players, the schools can save money and use it to boost the student experience. …

The last game between Sam Beskind & Majok Deng was an instant classic. (Andy Morales/

On the Arizona Wildcats Basketball Facebook page I posed this question for a poll: Should Miller continue to coach at Arizona regardless of the latest development (either yes or no please just to gauge your honest feeling of him this season or beyond)? An overwhelming amount as of 4:30 p.m. on Saturday — 189 — voted yes. The naysayers were 76. I put out a similar poll on Twitter. A total of 254 respondents took part in the poll by 4:30 and 52 percent voted no while 48 went with yes. I thought more would be in favor of Miller’s exit given the news with Richardson’s involvement in the FBI probe and this latest bombshell. Miller continues to claim his innocence and insists — through an Arizona press release — that he will be vindicated. The reaction from Arizona followers is a case that most Arizona fans want to believe Miller would not do such a thing as discuss the payment of $100,000 to land a recruit. That’s so un-Olson-like. Remember how vehement Olson was about having agents around his program? He may have hated them more than referees. … Grand Canyon coach Dan Majerle is actively recruiting Salpointe sophomore guard Evan Nelson and junior player Majok Deng. Nelson led Salpointe with 25.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals a game. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds a game. Deng averaged 18.8 points with a team-leading 9.1 rebounds a game. Majerle watched Nelson and Deng play in the Class 4A semifinal game against Buckeye. …

Jamelle Horne, now known as Mello Marcedious, on the set of a McDonald’s TV ad that will be viewed during the NCAA tournament (Mello Marcedious photo)

Sumlin and his staff hosted some top-flight Class of 2019 football recruits on campus on Saturday. One of them is five-star cornerback Chris Steele of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco. Sumlin has an uphill battle to land Steele over USC and Texas but to get him on campus is an accomplishment in itself. Sumlin’s recruitment of Steele can also be a statement that Sumlin will not shy away from going after the best available talent despite Arizona not establishing itself as a perennial power. Miami and Oregon are also in hot pursuit of Steele, who would be one of the most touted players to ever play at Arizona if Sumlin miraculously landed him. He is a physical specimen at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, who can also play safety if needed. … Four four-star players, as rated by, were also on campus Saturday: cornerback Brandon Jones of Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne, wide receiver Braedin Huffman-Dixon Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, cornerback Mykael Wright of Valencia (Calif.), and linebacker Jonathan Perkins of San Bernardino (Calif.) Cajon. Jones and Huffman-Dixon are leaning heavily toward USC. Wright is the same way with UCLA. Perkins has Oklahoma and Oregon among his finalists. Sumlin is not being shy. … Where are they now: When I published my update of former Arizona players in the pros — 26 of them in the NBA and playing abroad — a couple of readers asked about Jamelle Horne’s whereabouts. The former forward who was part of Miller’s first Elite Eight team in 2011, is not playing professionally this season after playing at Panama, Mexico, Israel, Poland, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Horne, who has changed his name to Mello Marcedious, is trying his hand at acting in Hollywood, playing parts mostly in commercials and ads. He is slated to appear in a McDonald’s commercial during March Madness. He has also appeared in ads for Hulu TV. …

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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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