If Sean Miller hires former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar as an assistant, it will impact three important areas:
1. Recruiting. Romar recruited 15 future NBA players during his Washington years, an average of one per season, and that doesn’t include presumptive No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. Seven of them were from the greater Seattle area: Brandon Roy, Jon Brockman, Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas, Spencer Hawes, Tony Wroten and Dejounte Murray. If Romar makes the difference in just one elite recruit choosing Arizona per year, it’ll be a bargain.
2. Work-life balance. Miller is a 24/7 grinder and ideally he’s soon going to have to trust someone in the office to take charge while he gathers himself. Much like Miller, Romar didn’t develop off-time hobbies, like golf or sailing. But he started the Lorenzo Romar Foundation for the prevention of domestic violence and educational assistance for Seattle’s disadvantaged youth.
Romar is a devout Christian; he spent five years as head coach for Athletes in Action in the 1980s, a ministry-based traveling basketball team. His priorities are in order. If he can shave any of Miller’s work load — at practice, in game-planning or as a decision-maker — it’ll be worth whatever Arizona pays him.
3. Communication. Romar is a go-to, shoulder-to-lean-on voice of reason. He knows how to bond with 18-year-olds with one eye on the NBA. He’s seen it all.
The son of a welder who grew up in racially-divided Louisiana, Romar had to earn his way into basketball, being cut from the varsity at Los Angeles Verbum Dei High School, getting no basketball scholarship offers, walking on at Cerritos College and then becoming an All-Pac-10 player at Washington.
After his long stint with Athletes in Action, Romar coached as an assistant at UCLA, and then was head coach at Pepperdine, St. Louis and finally, after Washington offered its basketball coaching job to Mark Few, Quin Snyder and Dan Monson, became head coach of the Huskies.
At 58, Romar still has a lot to give. Put it this way: No one in college basketball would have a more valued assistant coach.