Sean Miller’s future with the Arizona Wildcats is in question because of an ESPN report that alleged he discussed a $100,000 payment for Deandre Ayton with ASM employee Christian Dawkins.
The UA head coach stepped away from the team before last Saturday’s game at Oregon and has yet to return. But as Arizona decides what’s next for Miller, several of Miller’s former players have stepped forward to defend and support their head coach.
Take a gander:
T.J. McConnell (via Instagram)
“I will never turn my back on you. EVER! You are one of the best coaches I’ve ever had and easily the best person I’ve ever come in contact with! You have literally changed my life for the better and I’m truly grateful for you everyday. I would not be where I’m at today career wise and especially wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. You have been like a second father to me and I love you to death for that coach. I could go on forever about how good of a coach and person you are and I KNOW so many others feel the same. You taught me to keep my head up and persevere and I want you to do the same! Love you my man.”
Aaron Gordon (via Orlando Sentinel)
“Sean Miller was nothing but great for me and especially the guys that were on that team: T.J., myself, Rondae.
“He was nothing but great — just upstanding, just a role model and a great coach, a great person. This doesn’t take away from who he is as a person and who he is as a coach. He’s very successful. Yeah, the NCAA has a stranglehold on the money revenue coming through, and they need to start paying players. They really do. They need to start paying players more. It’s too bad that the FBI is so concerned with that and not concerned with other things. It’s just a domino effect at this point. You want to tip one over and the rest are going to go down. So the NCAA should pay players.”
Kevin Parrom (via Twitter)
“I will always stand by Coach Miller! Without him i dont have my degree! What am I without that.. so please be positive with your comments! #Beardown #PositiveVibesOnly #Beardown4Life”
Gabe York (via Instagram)
“A lot of bad things are being said about this man but I have nothing but love for him. He care about all his players and reaches out to not only me but my family as well to make sure we’re always good. People makes bad decisions but that’s what makes us human. Sean Miller is a great coach and doesn’t deserve the bad things that are being sad. I’m sure I’m not the only UA player who feels that way. We behind you coach!! #allin #justus”
Mark Lyons (via Instagram)
“Trying to take my guy down for helping young black kids eat and take care of their families. Where I come from 80% of us grew up without a father in our life, and Sean Miller tried to fill that void when he came to the ghetto just to see me and show my mother that I was in good hands! Always gonna be in your corner S dot and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to be apart of Point Guard U!!! #CoachInnocentUntilProvenGuilty #BearDown#RantOver”
Kyle Fogg (via Instagram)
“I could write a book filled with all of the valuable life lessons coach Sean Miller taught me throughout my time at Arizona. Instead I just want to share one thing....
“During my career at Arizona coach Miller always had our back. He would make sure we were doing well on the court and in the classroom, he would check in with our families, he would push us in practice, and he would make sure he always gave us his best effort. To me that’s standard. I had something to offer him. I would go out every day and give my all in games, push my teammates in practice, and do my best to help us win. Why wouldn’t he have my back? What isn’t standard is how he treats me now. I can’t practice, I can’t help him win games, I can’t help the younger players learn the ropes. Yet he still goes out of his way to support me. You learn a lot about someone by paying close attention to the way they treat you when you have nothing to offer them...
“Every summer I am welcomed back to Arizona with open arms. I have full access to the gym, managers, locker room, training staff, cold tub, EVERYTHING. Why would he do this? Because even though I have nothing to offer him, that’s the type of person Sean Miller is. The courtesy he shows me has been crucial in my rise as a pro. Take that a step further, when I asked him if he was interested in donating to my pencils of promise fundraiser, (an organization that brings education to children in need), he cut me off, “how much” he asked with a smile on his face. Coach Miller continues to support me in not only basketball, but in all aspects of my life, and things I am passionate about. Coach Miller treats all his players like this. The thing that speaks volumes to me, is that unlike most of the guys who played for coach miller, I wasn’t even one of his recruits ...I will always support coach Miller and I am a wildcat for life. Don’t be someone who kicks a man when he is down or leaves him when he needs your support most. He is a great coach, husband, father, and person. I know the incredible wildcat fans will never give up on Arizona and will give coach Sean Miller the respect he deserves. #Beardown”