When Olson retired, the Wildcats appeared to be in trouble. They had lost their entire recruiting class, didn't have much coming back in terms of talent and it was widely believed that Arizona would take several years to rebuild.
It looked even bleaker when several coaches turned down the opportunity to coach the Arizona basketball squad.
Then things suddenly changed.
Sean Miller accepted the position on April 6, 2009 and began getting to work immediately. He only had a few months to put together a recruiting class and no one – not even Miller himself – had any idea he would pull in the quality of class that he ultimately did in just a few months.
By the start of Miller's first season he had pulled in one of the best recruiting classes in the country and it surprised a lot of people in the process. He immediately displayed what he and his staff brings to the table when it comes to recruiting.
The season itself was a bit sub-par. The Wildcats missed the tournament for the first time since Lute Olson's first year on the job and struggled beating teams they would normally demolish. The shortcomings weren't too much of a surprise, but they were tough to swallow for a fan-base used to a high level of success.
Miller's following recruiting class didn't match the prestige of the class before, but Miller was able to pluck out a pair of quality basketball players that fit his system and should contribute a great deal in 2011-12.
Miller really began to open eyes before the start of last season when he started pulling in some of the nation's best players once again. From then until now, the Wildcats' head coach was able to land four players in areas of desperate need and even though Derrick Williams declared for the draft after the season, the players coming in have the ability to make up for Williams' departure.
Let's not forget, Miller also led his squad to 30 wins, a Pac-10 championship and an Elite Eight appearance this season. This was a season that was supposed to be much tougher than Arizona, but Miller did what Olson did for at Arizona – he got the most out of his players.
So that begs the question: Can Miller match or even surpass what Olson was able to accomplish during his time at UA?
Obviously Miller is going to have coach over a much longer period of time while sustaining an elite level of success over that duration, but if what he has accomplished over the past two years is any indication of what to expect going forward, then UA should be a major player on a national level as long as Miller is here.
It will be a tough test early in the season. Many are going to wonder what Miller and his squad will be able to do without Williams. The team played much better down the stretch, but Williams was the easily the best player on the team and it should be interesting to watch how Arizona performs without him on the floor.
Williams' supporting cast did plenty in the postseason to render a substantial amount of confidence from the fan-base going forward. The team has four juniors returning and a recruiting class many other schools would do anything to acquire. Arizona also has one of the best coaches in the nation and one that knows how to put a competitive team together.
Miller is going to have to have another big season next year to keep the program's confidence level high. There is little doubt he can get the job done and even less doubt he can keep the basketball squad's success at a consistent level.
Considering Miller has already brought UA back to an elite level in a 24 month time-span, there will be some added pressure to match what he accomplished this past season. If he is able to do so, many people will slowly begin to look at Miller as a coach in the same light as they did with Olson.