While there are numerous players on Arizona that are not very familiar with Josh Pastner, there are a few that certainly are.
One of those players is Jamelle Horne, who has plenty of respect for what Pastner has done.
"He's just an intense guy," Horne said. "You could ask Derrick the same thing, he was recruited by Josh Pastner as well. He is very passionate about the game and there's not much to what he does, but what he does works, and we look forward to the match up in the tournament."
In fact, Horne says that the main reason he wound up at Arizona was because of his relationship with Pastner.
"I committed to Josh," Horne said. "He was my caretaker, and he's the reason why I came here. Lute, of course, played a factor. To have the opportunity to play under him, which actually fell through, but Josh was always there. He was at every game, every AAU tournament, super persistent."
There were some difficult times for Horne when Kevin O'Neill was the head coach, but Horne is quick to point to Pastner when asked what helped him get through the difficult times the Arizona program recently went through.
"I know he was in charge of the big guys, but that was when Kevin O'Neill was here, and K.O. kind of took over the reins of the program," he said. "The assistant coaches were just there for us personally. They would talk to us and keep us afloat.
"He is probably the reason I came here, and he was probably the reason Derrick was considering Memphis. He just does not stop with the texting and the calling, when it's legal NCAA time. Josh is just a great guy."
As one of the more experienced players, some may think that Horne has a lot of guidance to do. However, he says that Sean Miller has done a good job of preparing the team for the tournament.
"I don't have to say anything," Horne said. "Coach Miller has the guys sold on everything. He's talked about the police escorts, going from A to B; everything is just top of the line, playing at the best arenas that they have to offer.
"It's just a great experience for everybody. Even though I've been there before, me and Tree (Alex Jacobson), and Fogg, the older guys are still excited to go back to the tournament, so I know the young guys are really hyped."
Horne believes that he has a good feel for Friday's Memphis game and expects it to be one of the more high-paced games this season.
"I see a fast-paced game," Horne said. "A ton of up and down. It's going to be great. I couldn't ask for a better first round match up. Like Derrick said, they fit our style of play. We like to push the tempo, we like to pick up early on defense, and hopefully the entire game is like that.
"It may not be pretty, or it may be a great game and all the shots go down. Either way, we just want to execute and prepare and do what we can to get to the second round."
Win or lose, Horne admits that he is happy about the fact that he is ending his career in the NCAA tournament.
"We have been playing very good basketball down the stretch, even though we didn't finish out in LA," Horne said. "We have another opportunity to start a new season right now, and see what we can do in this tournament, make a run.
"It's just really exciting to be a part of March Madness once again. Last year, we were down, and this year we are up and ready for the challenge."
Horne ready for Memphis
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