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Former NBA coach David Blatt to join Arizona staff as ‘professional consultant,’ per report

Ex-Kansas guard Evan Manning, son of Danny Manning, also joining program as director of basketball operations

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-david-blatt-cleveland-cavaliers-evan-manning-danny-kansas-gonzaga Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After getting shocked by Princeton in the NCAA Tournament and then losing four starters, Arizona was very active in the NCAA transfer portal in an effort to re-configure its roster. That new-look Wildcats team just returned from a 3-0 international trip to Israel and Abu Dhabi, capped by a win over the Lebanon National Team that’s competing in the FIBA World Cup.

Further changes to the program’s makeup have reportedly occurred since returning to Tucson, though behind the scenes, in the form of former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt as a “professional consultant” and ex-Kansas guard Evan Manning as the UA’s director of basketball operations.

Blatt, who went 83-40 in a season and a half with the Cavs from 2014-16, is currently in a consultant role with the Canadian National Team at the World Cup in the Philippines as well as part of the managing committee of Maccabi Tel Aviv, an Israeli pro club. Per, the 64-year-old Blatt suffers from multiple sclerosis and has struggled with the frequent air travel that comes with his work.

What Blatt’s “professional consultant” role with the UA will be remains to be seen, but it could be as some sort of liaison between head coach Tommy Lloyd and both the NBA and international basketball, both amateur and professional.

As for Manning, he’ll be taking on a position that hadn’t been part of Lloyd’s support staff the previous two years. Arizona’s last director of basketball operations, Ryan Reynolds, was in that role on Sean Miller’s staff from 2010-21 and is now a special assistant to Miller at Xavier.

Manning, the son of Kansas and NBA star Danny Manning, played for the Jayhawks from 2012-16. Since then he’s been on his father’s staff at Wake Forest, been a graduate assistant at Gonzaga (including one season with Lloyd) and in 2022-23 was an assistant at Army.