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Suns tap into Arizona Wildcats talent pool for coaching staff, Summer League roster

NBL Rd 17 - Cairns Taipans v Adelaide 36ers Photo by Emily Barker/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are no longer owned by a University of Arizona grad, but the franchise is tapping ever deeper into the state’s flagship college basketball program.

New Phoenix head coach Frank Vogel quickly brought on Miles Simon as an assistant and is closing in on adding former Wildcat Quinton Crawford to the staff, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.

Crawford, who played at Arizona from 2011-13, served as an assistant under Vogel for the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers. He most recently served on the Dallas Mavericks staff.

Simon was also an assistant under Vogel for the Lakers, then spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the G League South Bay Lakers.

Phoenix’s NBA Summer League team should have some Wildcats flair on the court, as well.

Former Arizona forward Keanu Pinder told ESPN Australia’s Olgun Uluc he will play for the Suns in Summer League.

The 6-foot-9 Perth, Australia native recently signed his hometown team, the Perth Wildcats of the National Basketball League. The NBL season runs October through February.

Pinder is a two-time NBL Most Improved Player, the first and only player in league history to win the award twice.

Pinder played two seasons at Arizona as a junior college transfer.

The Suns are also giving Stanley Johnson a free agent workout Wednesday, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report / TNT.

Johnson has played 449 career games in the NBA. In 2022-23, he played 30 games for the San Antonio Spurs before being released. He averaged 5.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Spurs.

Meanwhile, the Suns are still figuring out what to do with Deandre Ayton, with the most recent report from Haynes stating the franchise plans to move forward with keeping him in Phoenix.

Regardless of what happens with Ayton, there is sure to be some UA influence in the Suns organization next season.