Richard Jefferson Not Interested in Arizona HC Job: 'That's Already a Debacle'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 14, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04: Richard Jefferson of the Brooklyn Nets  before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Barclays Center on November 04, 2019 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
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You can take Richard Jefferson's name out of the running for the vacant head coaching job at his alma mater.

The former Arizona Wildcats standout and NBA player said in no uncertain terms that he wasn't interested in becoming the men's basketball head coach after Sean Miller was fired last week.

"No, I will not throw my hat into the Arizona coaching search," he said on Instagram Live on Monday (h/t Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic). "That's already a debacle."

Jefferson was supportive of Miller last month, saying he was a "Sean Miller guy" on the Pac-12 Network.

Pac-12 Network @Pac12Network

"I think Arizona did the right thing."@Rjeff24 talks @APlayersProgram self-imposed post-season ban.<br><br>Watch Pac-12 Gamebreak Show now⤵️<br>📺: Pac-12 Network<br>📱: https://t.co/7bHMYBa4SA#Pac12Hoops pic.twitter.com/ebemNCnABU

"If you were to put him nationally with other coaches and other programs, he would probably be top five, top seven. Coaches like that don't grow on trees," Jefferson added. "And so I'm a big Sean Miller guy, and I hope that they can turn this around and get going in the future.”

The Wildcats went 17-9 in 2020-21 but were ineligible for the NCAA tournament after self-imposing a postseason ban. The NCAA reportedly hit the program with a notice of allegations after a 2017 federal investigation into fraud and corruption across men's college basketball recruiting, which included former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson's guilty plea to a felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Miller went 302-109 in 12 seasons with the Wildcats, leading the team to seven NCAA tournaments, five Pac-12 regular-season championships and three Pac-12 tournament championships.

The Wildcats haven't played in the NCAA tournament since the 2017-18 season, however.

As for the program's next head coach, buzz has centered around Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd. Former Wildcat Gilbert Arenas told Jefferson on Instagram Live he wasn't interested in Lloyd.

"An assistant coach doesn't have credentials," he said. "... I don't even want to say his name because he doesn't deserve it. You're an assistant coach, OK. You assist."

Arenas said former Arizona player Damon Stoudamire was his top choice, followed by another former player in Miles Simon. Stoudamire is the men's basketball head coach for Pacific, while Simon is an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Arenas also dropped Josh Pastner's name but noted he already has a gig. Pastner, another former Arizona player, is the head coach for the Georgia Tech men's basketball team.