Arizona men’s basketball coach Tommy Lloyd knows what everyone in Tucson is thinking. When is the program going to fill its roster for the 2023-24 season and where will the talent come from?
After losing out on Creighton transfer Ryan Nembhard to Gonzaga, Lloyd received considerable criticism on social media (and on this site) from fans who took Arizona’s inability to land the point guard as a sign that Lloyd doesn’t have the requisite recruiting chops.
Less than a week following Nembhard’s decision, Lloyd landed his biggest recruit yet as coach of Arizona when 2024 forward Carter Bryant committed to the Wildcats. While Bryant’s commitment offered reassurance that Lloyd can reel in top talent, it doesn’t solve the immediate concern of Arizona entering the month of May with several holes to fill ahead of next season.
In an interview with the Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe at EYBL Phoenix, Lloyd provided some clarity on the program’s progress of filling in the 2023-24 roster.
“I think we’re in great shape,” Lloyd told the Daily Star. “I mean, college basketball is different today than it was three, five or 10 years ago. So I feel we’re in a good position. I love the pieces we’ve got. Maybe I have some insight to some other pieces coming that others don’t. So I’m sleeping good.”
Lloyd went on to add to add that “People will be really happy” with Arizona’s roster construction, but that “there’s a code of conduct” he must follow when discussing the program’s recruiting efforts.
“I don’t do recruiting speculation in the public sphere,” Lloyd said. “That literally has zero impact on me.
“Everything’s gonna be an option. We’re looking everywhere. Guys who aren’t in the portal (yet), there’s nothing I can do with them. We’re definitely paying attention, and we feel good where we’re at. I think we’ve got a great foundation for our team next year, and that’s kind of where we expected to be.”
Lloyd said that he doesn’t have a “set agenda” on how many players Arizona needs to offer. Lloyd reiterated his position that an offer from Arizona isn’t something to be handed out lightly.
“If you follow recruiting for any high-level program, everyone’s all over the place. This is how it is right now. Things will settle down. When the COVID eligibility (extra year for players who participated in 2020-21) wraps up, and the transfer portal and NIL all get figured out, maybe there’ll become a standard way of doing business. But there isn’t right now.
It’s an honor to get an offer from Arizona. I’m gonna respect that and always treat that as such. If people in the general public don’t understand that, well, I don’t know what to tell them. Maybe I think our offers are more valuable than they do, but this is a special place.”
Lloyd was also asked about the significance of NIL in recruiting.
“People like to talk about, exaggerate about, money and things like that all over our society. I can’t tell you what’s true and what’s not true. We’re just gonna continue to operate the way we have, being really mindful of who we want in our program — good players, high-character guys, and we’re not gonna back off of that.
It’s worked. I’m banking that it’s gonna continue to work, and if I don’t think it’s working, I’ll make an adjustment.”
Pascoe’s full interview with Lloyd can be found here.