Arizona announces to recruits Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd as new men’s basketball coach

Arizona reported on Wednesday it has recruited former Gonzaga partner Tommy Lloyd as its next men’s b-ball mentor.

In the past few weeks, Lloyd had emerged as the favorite to replace Sean Miller in Tucson. Arizona looked at coaches with associations with the Wildcats, namely Pacific’s Damon Stoudamire, Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner and Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Miles Simon, yet the program picked to go external the family.

Lloyd, 46, interviewed the end of the week, sources told ESPN.

The school said in an statement that Lloyd will get a five-year contract.

“While there are certainly potential obstacles ahead for our program, I embrace the challenge as we will build on the foundation in place to compete for Pac-12 and national championships,” Lloyd said in a statement.

Lloyd has been at Gonzaga since 2000, serving as an assistant coach under Mark Few for as long as 20 seasons. The Bulldogs have arrived at the NCAA tournament in each season since Lloyd joined the program. They arrived at the national championship game twice, in 2017 and this previous season, when their unbeaten record was finished by Baylor.

Lloyd is set up as the best international recruiter in college basketball, carrying many overseas players to the Zags in the course of recent many years. Global possibilities who played at Gonzaga and were drafted since Lloyd joined Few’s staff incorporate Ronny Turiaf, Robert Sacre, Kelly Olynyk, Domantas Sabonis and Rui Hachimura.

That could be important when he takes over at Arizona, which had seven global players on its list this previous season, including Lithuania native Azuolas Tubelis and Canada native Bennedict Mathurin.

“There was never a master plan,” Lloyd told ESPN last year about his international prowess. “It was just one day at a time. One phone call, one relationship, one recruit. And then once you start having success, more opportunities present themselves.”

He played a key role in helping Gonzaga secure five-star prospects Jalen Suggs and Hunter Sallis in the previous two recruiting classes, has the Zags in position to land No. 1 generally recruit Chet Holmgren and furthermore drove the way in landing impact transfers like Brandon Clarke and Kyle Wiltjer.

The coach-in-waiting at Gonzaga, Lloyd had turned down various freedoms to meet at different positions in the course of recent years. However, Arizona, in spite of the question marks approaching over the program, is viewed one of the elite jobs in college ball.

“I’m fulfilled,” Lloyd told ESPN a year ago. “I love being at a place that’s bigger than any of us on the coaching staff. We’re all part of something bigger than ourselves. And I think that’s something pretty special.”

Lloyd replaces Sean Miller, who was fired earlier after 12 seasons in Tucson. He drove the Wildcats to seven NCAA tournaments and three Elite Eight appearances, however had reached the second weekend of the NCAA tournament only once since 2016. The Wildcats succeeded at least a share of five Pac-12 regular-season championships under Miller.

Arizona had been entangled in the 2017 federal investigation into corruption in college b-ball. Former assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery after being accused of accepting $20,000 to direct Arizona players to aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins. During Dawkins’ trial, prosecutors played an FBI-intercepted call in which Richardson revealed to Dawkins that Miller was paying $10,000 every month for previous player Deandre Ayton.

Mill operator has consistently denied paying players to go to Arizona.

The NCAA charged the men’s ball program with four Level I violations, as indicated by a notice of allegations released a month ago. The program was hit with two alleged instances of academic misconduct, while Miller was charged for not demonstrating “that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance and monitored his staff.”

Arizona self-imposed a one-year postseason ban for this past season.

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