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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Former Arizona coach Sean Miller calls Tommy Lloyd’s teams “fun to watch”

Dec. 1, 2022 Updated Thu., Dec. 1, 2022 at 8:57 p.m.

Sean Miller has a new job, but he remains a fan of Arizona basketball, current and former players he recruited to Tucson and his successor Tommy Lloyd.

Miller, who is in the first season of his second stint as head coach at Xavier, sandwiched around 12 seasons at Arizona, keeps an eye on Arizona when he’s not busy leading the Big East Conference Musketeers.

Arizona is off to another fast start under second-year coach Lloyd, who was an assistant coach at Gonzaga for two-plus decades.

The Wildcats are 6-1 and won the Maui Invitational championship, led by tournament MVP and former Zags center Oumar Ballo. They opened Pac-12 play with an 81-66 loss to Utah on Thursday.

“I’m in a really good place toward Arizona,” said Miller, following the Musketeers’ 88-84 loss to Gonzaga in Sunday’s third-place game of the Phil Knight Legacy in Portland. “I love the place. I have three sons that will graduate from there.

“Twelve years is a long time and a lot of the players I coached, it’s great to see them do well. And Tommy Lloyd, he’s a fantastic coach. I mean he learned from the best or one of the best (Gonzaga coach Mark Few). He’s implementing a lot of what Gonzaga does there. It’s fun to watch.”

The Wildcats are No. 1 nationally in scoring offense (97.5 points) and field-goal percentage (60.3). They’re second in assists (21.8) and fourth in 3-point percentage (45.0).

Gonzaga checks in at 26th (83.7 points) and Xavier is tied for 19th (84.0).

Miller recruited current Arizona point guard Kerr Kriisa and All-Pac-12 forward Azuolas Tubelis as well as 2022 NBA draft picks Bennedict Mathurin (sixth overall), Dalen Terry (18th) and Christian Koloko (33rd).

Lloyd has been complimentary of Miller and the players who were in the program when he arrived from GU. Lloyd has said he had to “re-recruit” many of those players after the coaching change to keep them in a Wildcats uniform, including last year’s starting five.

Arizona was third nationally at 84.0 points – Gonzaga was first at 87.2 – in Lloyd’s first season. The Wildcats finished 33-4 after falling to Houston in the Sweet 16.

Miller was fired in April 2021.

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