Assistant coach Book Richardson has returned to the Arizona Wildcats after taking a month off for unspecified health-related issues.
Richardson left the team on the eve of its first full practice, Sept. 27, and UA coach Sean Miller said on Oct. 12 that he expected Richardson would return within two weeks.
“We’re excited to have coach Richardson back with our program,” Miller said in a UA statement released this morning. “His unique energy and enthusiasm are huge contributions to our program on a daily basis. We’re looking forward to him hitting the ground running as we prepare to play Augustana College.”
Upon his departure, Richardson said "this is not a life or death situation, but nonetheless very important," and said he was grateful UA gave him the flexibility to temporarily step away from basketball.
Richardson left UA in the middle of its fall recruiting season, though now returns in time for its Monday exhibition game and UA's campus visit this weekend with junior college recruit Kadeem Allen.
“I’m happy and thankful to be returning to the team at this time,” Richardson said in UA's statement this morning. “I want to thank (Arizona AD) Greg Byrne, Coach Miller and the entire University of Arizona family, as well as everyone who reached out to me during this time, for their support. I’d also like to thank my wife, Erin, and my children, Chasidy, Sere, Chanel, E.J. and Jaylen, for looking after me during my time at home. It’s great to be back, and I’m looking forward to a successful season.”
Richardson, 40, has worked under Miller for the past six seasons, including two at Xavier before Miller took over the Wildcats' program. A 1989 graduate of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Richardson has also coached at several levels in the East.
When the play a closed scrimmage at St. Mary's on Nov. 2, it will be only the second time in the Sean Miller era the Wildcats have not played two public exhibition games.
The Wildcats played Utah before the 2010-11 season. NCAA rules prohibit schools from talking about the event beforehand, as in our 2010 story, but here's a list of the matchups for this year. (ESPN Insider access may be required).
Teams have two chances to play exhibitions against non-Division I teams or closed scrimmages against Division I teams. UA most often plays two exhibition games in order to boost the number of home games sold in season ticket packages.
Oregon greatly boosted its chances for Pac-12 title contention today, when Houston transfer Joseph Young was declared immediately eligible. Young had appealed to become eligible because his father was moved off the Houston coaching staff after last season.
If nothing else, the Ducks probably have the league's top backcourt, with Young joining Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson, Johnathan Loyd and Detroit transfer Jason Calliste.
The Wildcats return to playing Oregon twice this season, now that the Pac-12's unbalanced schedule has the Washington and Los Angeles schools as one-game opponents for UA.