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Arizona attempts to expand coaching search, former player slams Gonzaga’s Tommy Lloyd’s candidacy

UPDATED: Tue., April 13, 2021

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and assistant coach Tommy Lloyd watch the action during a 2019 WCC Tournament game.  (Jim  Meehan / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and assistant coach Tommy Lloyd watch the action during a 2019 WCC Tournament game. (Jim Meehan / The Spokesman-Review)

Arizona appears to be trying to expand its search for a new men’s basketball coach, and a former Wildcats’ standout player criticized Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd’s candidacy.

Neither would probably be considered positive developments for Lloyd.

The Wildcats expressed interest in Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman and Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner, a former Arizona walk-on who has served on the Wildcats’ staff in several capacities, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

It’s unclear how far things got with Musselman after reports surfaced Monday that he’s finalizing a new contract with Arkansas after reaching the Elite Eight in his second season. Pastner is in talks with Georgia Tech about a contract extension, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week.

Meanwhile, former Arizona standout Richard Jefferson called the school’s coaching search a “debacle” on his Instagram Live feed before Gilbert Arenas joined as a guest.

Arenas said Lloyd doesn’t deserve the job because “an assistant coach doesn’t have credentials.”

Lloyd, regarded as one of the best assistant coaches in the nation, has been considered a leading candidate to replace Sean Miller, who was fired last Wednesday. Lloyd has interviewed with Arizona administrators via Zoom. Some close to the GU assistant coach worry that the longer the search goes on, the less likely he is to get the job.

Arizona has reportedly interviewed Pacific head coach Damon Stoudamire, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Miles Simon and Jason Terry, who just completed his first season as Wildcats assistant.

Stoudamire, Simon and Terry were standout players at Arizona with experience on the Wildcats’ staff.

Arenas, not surprisingly, is backing Stoudamire to be Arizona’s next coach.

“He’s established himself,” Arenas said. “He’s turned a whole program around where he went. He has the credentials.”

Stoudamire is 71-77 in five years at Pacific. He was named WCC coach of the year in 2020 when the Tigers finished 23-10. His next-best season, by winning percentage, was a 9-9 mark in 2021.

Pastner was head coach at Memphis from 2009-2016 before taking over at Georgia Tech, which won the ACC Tournament in March to reach the NCAA Tournament. It was the program’s first March Madness in Pastner’s five seasons.

Pastner was 167-73 with four NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons as head coach at Memphis. He’s 82-76 at Georgia Tech after a 17-9 record in 2021.

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