During the Arizona Wildcats' biggest recruiting weekend of the spring, it is coach Sean Miller who might be lured away.
Miller's name surfaced Friday as a prime candidate to replace the retiring Gary Williams at Maryland, with The Washington Post reporting that he and the Terrapins had "mutual interest," and there was no indication from McKale Center denying that Miller was at least considering a possible offer.
The third-year UA coach did not return a message from the Star and did not issue a statement through UA's media-relations department, as he was initially expected to, while UA athletic director Greg Byrne declined comment.
Miller left his office once he concluded hosting guard Chris Thomas, a top-five-rated player in the class of 2013. After an expected clinic appearance in Las Vegas today, Miller is scheduled to return tonight to host guard Shabazz Muhammad, a top-five player in the class of 2012.
UA assistant coach Book Richardson said it was business as usual Friday, while former Wildcat player Eric Cooper, the coach of UA commits Grant Jerrett and Eric Cooper Jr., said Miller sent him a text saying that "all is good." Cooper said Miller told him he would call Friday night.
Several other coaches of former Wildcats said they didn't know if Miller would leave. Etop Udo-Ema, the travel-ball coach for Jamelle Horne, noted that Miller has momentum at UA now with what is rated the No. 4 recruiting class in 2011.
"They're having a lot of success right now with their recruiting," Udo-Ema said. "I don't know if you leave that."
But at Maryland, former Santa Rita High School star Terrell Stoglin said, there's plenty of speculation that Miller will replace Williams. That would be fine with Stoglin, who committed to the Terrapins just before Miller was hired at Arizona in April 2009.
"If he's the coach here, I'll be happy," Stoglin said via telephone from Maryland. "I wanted to play for him, personally."
Former Santa Rita coach Jim Ferguson said Stoglin "loved" playing for Williams but was open to the possibility of playing under Miller or Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon, another potential candidate.
"He hopes whoever comes in gives them a little more freedom," Ferguson said.
If it's Miller arriving, it might be because of his ties to the East Coast and the chance to coach in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference. Miller was an assistant coach under Herb Sendek at North Carolina State, played at Pittsburgh and is a native of Pittsburgh.
He also has strong recruiting ties in the East, making inroads with Baltimore guard Josh Selby in 2009 and Washington, D.C., guard Quinn Cook last season, although Selby eventually chose Kansas and Cook signed with Duke.
"He nearly got one of the top players in the country being almost 3,000 miles away," Damon Handon, one of Cook's travel-team coaches, told the Baltimore Sun. "I can't imagine what he would do if he was at Maryland."
Miller's silence on the issue contrasted slightly with the reaction of Miller and Byrne when Miller was linked to the North Carolina State opening in mid-March.
Just before the NCAA tournament began, Byrne issued a statement saying he had spoken with Miller and that the coach had "zero interest" in any other openings.
Miller declined to comment on N.C. State until after the Wildcats season ended in the Elite Eight. But he said then that he would be "fine" if UA offered him the two-year extension that he was promised when he was hired in April 2009. Miller said he had a good relationship with Byrne and that "I don't have this huge agenda to redo what's already in place."
Last season, Miller earned $1.6 million from Arizona's athletic department, $400,000 from Nike and IMG, plus at least $235,000 in performance bonuses from UA. He has a buyout of $500,000 that he (or his new employer) must pay if he leaves before his fifth season.