The Jet has landed, a little more than a month before he started making his descent back to Tucson.
The Arizona Wildcats officially announced Thursday it has hired former standout Jason Terry as an assistant men’s basketball coach, taking the place of Justin Gainey who left for a job at Marquette in early April.
It’s been almost as long that Terry had been widely rumored to full the vacancy, but a school-wide hiring freeze brought on by the coronavirus pandemic did not allow Arizona to formally advertise it until last week.
“My family and I are excited to be part of the incredible Tucson community again, where our story began,” Terry said in a statement. “I am looking forward to joining Coach (Sean) Miller and staff to develop student-athletes that have a passion for education, basketball excellence and community leadership.”
Terry, 42, comes back to the school where he played from 1995-99 and was a key member of the 1997 NCAA title team. Terry went on to spend 19 seasons in the NBA, and since retiring in 2018 had coached a girls AAU basketball team and served as assistant GM for the Dallas Mavericks’ G League team in Frisco, Texas.
Though this will be his first foray into college basketball, Terry figures to have some pull on the recruiting trail. His still-fresh NBA career makes him relatable to prospects hoping to make the pros, while his connections along the West Coast should also help. It’s no coincidence that 5-star power forward Paolo Banchero, from Terry’s hometown of Seattle, added the UA to his finalists not long after the Terry hiring rumors began last month.
“We are excited to welcome Jason Terry, his wife, Johnyika, and their daughters to our program and the community,” Miller said in a statement. “Jason’s accomplishments as a player and champion are iconic in our sport, with so many of his incredible moments on the court taking place here at the University of Arizona. His basketball journey is one that so many players dream of, but he was able to make it a reality.
“Jason’s knowledge of the game along with his charisma and competitive spirit are qualities that will make him an exceptional coach. He will impact and energize our current players as well as our recruiting efforts in a major way. We look forward to having him back on our sideline in the McKale Center.”