Over the last few years, we have enjoyed watching the gradual fall of the House of Hoosier. From top-tier power that was feared by everyone, to a team that now has three scholarship players and will be a Jordan Crawford show next season. But at least with Indiana, the bottom has been reached and now the rebounding begins. Not so with the decline of Arizona. The past year has not been kind to the Wildcats. First, Lute Olsen takes some time off….which is later deemed to be because of the “personal issues” related to his divorce….which is later rumored by a source in Arizona to have to do with Assistant Coach Miles Simon and his wife. Then Kevin O Neill, the official “coach-in-waiting” for the university has to take over the team….produces an awful season with a great deal of talent….then watches his two best players Jared Bayless and Chase Budinger, head to the NBA….then decides to leave the program and no longer be the future King of Tuscon.
So you thought that was enough? But no….last week the one guy on Arizona who has stayed out of the fray and has remained out of the news, uber-recruiter Josh Pastner, has decided to leave Arizona and take the job as head recruiter at Memphis (as if they needed help). That leaves exactly ZERO assistant coaches from last season left on the Arizona staff and Lute Olsen returning to start anew at the age of 250. Arizona is the only team in America to have a longer NCAA Tournament streak than Kentucky, but one gets the feeling that this could change very soon. Either way, the notion of Arizona as a national power is one that is fleeting and unlike Indiana, where the passionate fan base ensures that the program wont die a “Michigan-like” death, the time that the Wildcats will be seen as a Top 10 power may never return.