PHOENIX -- Oregon State reportedly has already talked with Ben Howland about the Beavers’ head coaching job but Sean Miller is aware of another candidate they might want to consider.
Of course, that would be UA assistant coach Damon Stoudamire. The Portland native who went on to a long and lucrative career in the NBA before becoming known as a hard-working assistant coach at Memphis and Arizona.
“I haven’t heard but I would assume they would have a strong interest in him,” Miller said today, during Pac-12 meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. “Not only in that he’s a native of Portland who cares a lot about the region but also with his pedigree of a guy who’s played in the NBA for 13 years, who is a terrific college assistant and certainly is a rising star in what we’re doing.
“In my mind he’s a home run hire for anybody but for somebody in that region, I can certainly see they’d be interested in him in a big way.”
The Oregonian's John Canzano put Stoudamire second behind Howland on his list of odds for possible OSU candidates. Meanwhile, the Beavers players are lobbying for former assistant coach David Grace to get the job.
During the Pac-12 basketball coaches’ meetings this morning, Miller continued to stump for changes to the conference scheduling after the Wildcats were saddled with games that were three days apart during all of their two-game conference road trips last season.
Miller and other conference coaches are also not wild about the increasing amount of Sunday games, especially for teams that must play on the following Wednesday. Coaches don’t like Sunday games because they prevent players from taking a “real” off day without classes or basketball.
“It’s not so much change for lessening our options television-wise, but putting a few guidelines in where it protects each institution where one doesn’t play six Sunday games, one doesn’t play five 9 p.m. start times, and like we did this year, you don’t go four times away from your campus leaving on Tuesday and getting back on Saturday or Sunday,” Miller said. “I think that improves the student welfare and it’s certainly going to increase the opportunity for our team to improve because there’s a big difference between being on campus at your university, sleeping in your own bed and practicing, versus being at a hotel far away, at a study table doing the best you can and trying to find a place to practice. Over the long haul, it becomes almost a a competitive disadvantage for our conference when you look at other conferences.”
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said during the conference tournament in March that the best solution was for schools to charter more, since teams could theoretically fly home after a Wednesday night game, attend two days of classes and fly out again on a Friday before a Saturday or Sunday game.
But Scott indicated today that some tweaking of the schedule might be possible even though the primary problem is that the conference leveraged flexibility in scheduling in order to secure its lucrative media rights deal.
“Sean was very articulate about Sunday games and turning around to Wednesdays,” Scott said. Basketball scheduling problems “are really important topics that we spent a lot of time on. We’ve got certain parameters that we’ve got to work around with our TV contract. We’ve got a lot of revenue and a lot of exposure.
“With our new TV contract came a certain level of flexibility we had to show. Before we played on Thursday and Saturday and that was it. We agreed to be more flexible to get the revenue and exposure that our coaches wanted. But within that we do have some flexibility.”
Scott said it was possible that the Pac-12 could go back to Fox or ESPN if a team was put in a scheduling bind to potentially make an adjustment.
“We have a great relationship with ESPN and Fox; it’s very dynamic,” Miller said. “They want to get the value they bargained for but they want to be fair to our teams.”
Miller said he has nominated walk-on guard Jacob Hazzard to be UA’s representative on the Pac-12 all-star team that will tour China this summer, in part because anybody who went would miss summer-school time.
“Whoever you choose is going to be away from summer school and in Jacob’s case he has done very well academically,” Miller said. “He has aspirations to do a lot of different things in life. He’s somebody who gives us a lot on a daily basis. … He does the job in the classroom. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
Miller said some of his other players will be involved in camps and were not available while forward Brandon Ashley is continuing to rehab his foot injury.
“We didn’t have a large group of people to choose from,” Miller said.
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