Sean Miller, UofA men’s head basketball coach, gave a presentation about the upcoming 2016-2017 team on Aug. 27. It was during a private reception and lunch for valued partners of Hughes Federal Credit Union. Miller spoke about his new recruits and the upcoming schedule.
He introduced the names of the four new recruits: Kobi Simmons, Rawle Alkins, Lauri Markkanen and Ray Smith. He says Simmons is a very talented player who is currently a bit underweight, but is expected to get stronger throughout the season. Alkins is a new guard from Brooklyn, New York, who is 6’5”. Markkanen is 7’0” from Finland. Smith came to the UofA last year, but could not play due to injuries. Ray, who had two surgeries and had to sit out last season, is now healthy and ready to play.
This year’s schedule might disappoint people who expected more big name teams, says Miller. He says that times have changed, and many big name teams are no longer willing to travel to an opponent’s home court during the regular season.
He is, however, excited that the UA will be playing highly-ranked Michigan State in a tournament played in Hawaii early in the season. When asked about his tactics for defeating Michigan State, Miller says, “You can't get selfish coming into the game. You want to make sure all players know their role. That's not easy to do, especially in our case, because we have some newcomers.”
Near the end of his presentation, Miller expressed how he encourages his players to finish four years of college and earn their degree before applying to the NBA. He said that jumping into the NBA before finishing college leaves players less mature at basketball and as individuals, without a degree or a profession, with no guarantee of health or a secure position in the NBA.
Participants at Miller’s presentation and luncheon received a gift bag containing a mini-ball signed by Miller, and some items from the UofA and Hughes Federal Credit Union.