HANSEN

Greg Hansen: Cats' big recruiting tool: 65 NBA picks

2013-07-01T00:00:00Z 2013-07-01T17:02:46Z Greg Hansen: Cats' big recruiting tool: 65 NBA picksGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

For the first time since Arizona started pipe-lining basketball players to the NBA 40 years ago, since Fred Snowden sold a new frontier and Lute Olson sold success, the Wildcats have moved to an entirely different platform.

They are selling their vast financial fortune.

The potential to become a millionaire has not-so-subtly become the greatest recruiting advantage in modern college basketball, and Sean Miller is among the first to put his wheels up and take recruiting to higher altitude.

A week ago, via social media available to all potential recruits and their families, Miller and the UA dispatched an image of Damon Stoudamire wearing a purple Toronto Raptors uniform, circa 1995. It was subliminally labeled:

"You want to play in the NBA for 13 years and earn $100 million like Arizona assistant coach Damon Stoudamire?''

Sign me up, coach.

Miller, Stoudamire and fellow assistants Book Richardson and Joe Pasternack will be selling potential fame and fortune when the NCAA allows 15 days of full-on recruiting this month, the most important days on the off-season calendar.

This new, "We-got-the-money approach" was further articulated by Miller in an ESPN.com piece last week in which he said:

"In general terms, you have to be careful at times when you're talking about getting a degree. It could be taken as an insult (such as) 'I'm not good enough or my player or my son isn't good enough to leave early.'

"Is that every situation? Of course not. But you have to be careful."

A lot of purists and scholars won't like this, but if you sell your agriculture department and not your NBA pipeline, you'll soon be sitting in eighth place with Oregon State.

For better or worse, this is the Era of Grant Jerrett.

If you've got it, flaunt it. Miller, a dogged recruiter, one who can match the work ethic of Lute Olson, can point a five-star recruit to the marvelous basketball-reference.com web site, whereupon the following career-earnings data becomes available:

Gilbert Arenas, $140.7 million.

Mike Bibby, $107.1 million.

Richard Jefferson, $95.6 million.

Jason Terry, $92.5 million.

Andre Iguodala, $73.3 million.

How's that for a starting five?

The UA is so aggressive in its self-promotion that within hours of the selection of Solomon Hill to Indiana and Jerrett to Oklahoma City in the NBA draft, it updated (with classic logos) a web presence showing 65 ex-Wildcats have now been drafted, not a mere 63.

Every game at McKale Center begins with a Las Vegas-style video whose first words, spoken by the great Sean Elliott, are "63 NBA draft picks.''

By comparison, Arizona State might begin a pre-game video saying "37 NBA draft picks.''

This isn't to magnify the UA-ASU split. It's that college basketball has evolved into such a money-driven industry that salesmanship has established new boundaries. The game has forever changed. Arizona can realize almost $30 million in annual basketball revenues, more than triple the Sun Devils and most Pac-12 teams.

That's why Miller can schedule the Red and Blue Game ( a scrimmage) on a Saturday afternoon in October and sell all 14,500 seats.

Remember when the Oakland A's were made famous for a new approach to baseball in the book/movie "Money Ball?'' College basketball has similarly become money ball.

Here's what fame and fortune has done for Arizona:

Phoenix eighth-grader Marvin Bagley III, as reported by the Arizona Republic, has emerged as perhaps America's leading basketball prospect in the Class of 2018. It's almost absurd to think Bagley is being recruited - he just graduated from the seventh grade - but the game has changed so much that NAU's Jack Murphy, a product of the Lute Olson/Josh Pastner recruiting system, recently became the first to offer Bagley a scholarship.

The Sun Devils were quick to follow Murphy's lead. It's almost the equivalent of a young Sean Elliott growing up a few miles from the UA's campus.

What's more, Bagley is the grandson of Joe Caldwell, who, in my opinion, with James Harden, is one of the two greatest players in ASU history.

But, as the Republic reported, a few days after nearby ASU offered the 14-year-old Bagley a scholarship, his family drove to McKale Center to introduce Marvin to Sean Miller.

Sometime soon, if not already, Marvin Bagley III is going to hear about that $100 million earned by UA assistant coach Damon Stoudamire.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona State 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
Oregon State 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
Stanford 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
Arizona 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
Oregon 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
UCLA 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
Washington 0 0 0 0.000 2 0 0 1.000
California 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
Colorado 0 0 0 0.000 2 1 0 0.667
Utah 0 0 0 0.000 2 1 0 0.667
USC 0 0 0 0.000 2 2 0 0.500
Washington State 0 0 0 0.000 1 2 0 0.333

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Football schedule

Teams Date Time Links
Stanford at
UCLA
11/28 1:30 pm
ASU at
Arizona
11/28 1:30 pm
BYU at
Cal
11/29 12:00 am
Oregon at
Oregon State
11/29 12:00 am
Notre Dame at
USC
11/29 12:00 am
Utah at
Colorado
11/29 12:00 am
Washington at
Washington State
11/29 8:30 pm