Arizona focusing on overall improvement

With the changing times, there are also changing priorities for recruits. To this point, Sean Miller believes Arizona has done relatively well addressing those points.

In this day and age of college basketball, recruits have difference priorities than they may have had years ago.

Arizona has done well adapting to those changes, even though it can be overwhelming at times.

For Miller, much of that has to do with the overall passion Tucson has for the University of Arizona.

"There's such a passion here, that you're at the forefront of it as part of the basketball program," Miller said. "I went to the Wooden Awards with Derrick, and he can't walk 10 feet in an airport in Tucson without someone taking a picture with their phone.

"I would just say that it's an ever-changing world. Derrick, five years ago, people didn't have phones that took pictures, and he would have walked through with no problem and signed a few autographs."

One of the main reasons Miller has gained popularity so quick is the presence of social media, which allows him to be seen more.

"It's just a different day," he said. "I think part of what really puts the spotlight on something like this is the fact that the world has changed. Twitter, Facebook, the internet, and a lot of things that drive that, but that's something that comes with it, and also is something that's a great strength of ours."

In addition, the view of players has changed. For many of them, what is important now is not something that was important to recruits years ago.

"We've had unofficial visits recently, and we have unofficial visits that when people walk into our locker room, they say, that's the nicest locker room they've ever been in," Miller said. "You may say, what does that mean, but if you're dealing with someone who's 16, 17 years old, and that's their reaction, then that's a real positive.

"That's something we've addressed and made a part of our future that maybe five or ten years ago wasn't as important, but as other programs have invested and now we have in that, it gives us an incredible competitive advantage."

One example is the Richard Jefferson Gym, which Miller has successfully used as a recruiting tool in the past.

"When you walk into the Richard Jefferson Gym right now, you have twelve glass backboards, it's air conditioned, it's open, accessible 12 months out of the year," Miller said. "At one time that would have been Bear Down Gym in the summer, and it probably worked very well, obviously worked very well, but as different programs have invested in great practice facilities, the fact that our is equal, or above and beyond that, gives us a great competitive advantage.

In order to succeed, there needs to be a commitment on numerous levels. So far, Greg Byrne has done a solid job of finding people that share that commitment.

"There are people here that have invested a lot to make that happen, namely Richard Jefferson himself," Miller said. "Our new weight room, and the amount of equipment and the way it looks towards, I can come to Arizona, and develop. That's something we have invested a lot in over the last 12, 24 months that I've needed our development staff, our coaching staff, Greg, there's families here in Tucson that have given above and beyond what they've needed to.

"Those are the things we are all concerned about. The question of are we putting ourselves in the best light to be the best we can be. Greg has done nothing short of trying as best we can to do that, and at the same time, addressing football and the things that are going to make our university even better."


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