When I called Josh Pastner over the weekend to ask about his experience on the interim staff of 2007-08, Pastner raved about the valuable experiences he has gained working under Lute Olson, Kevin O'Neill and John Calipari.
Then he brought up the current Arizona coach.
"Not only coach Olson and coach O'Neill but I've been influenced by Sean Miller," Pastner said. "I've spent a lot of time picking Sean's brain from an offensive standpoint. Every summer, I've reached out and called him on the phone. I watched his DVDs from clinics. I've always loved his offensive stuff."
Pastner said Miller even deserved credit for the Tigers' offense last season, when Memphis improved its scoring from 72.1 points per game to 74.7 and also improved field-goal percentage (45.1 to 49.1)and three-point percentage (32.9 to 36.2)
"I called Sean at the end of last year to thank him because the offense was really good offensively," Pastner said.
Pastner said Miller's motion offense is similar to Olson's but said Miller's "play after the play" schemes for what to do when a play breaks down are "genius."
Miller and Pastner's teams, of course, met up in the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament -- with the Wildcats winning after Derrick Williams blocked a shot from Wesley Witherspoon in the final seconds.
"I thought it was going to be a tight game at the end," Pastner said. "Derrick Williams was just a stud."
USC had a physical look in a recent practice.
Catching up on some older links if you haven't seen them:
-- Jeff Goodman calls Mark Lyons the No. 1 preseason impact transfer.
-- Former USC guard Maurice Jones will head to Iowa State.
-- AP Top 25 voters put Arizona between No. 5 and unranked, according to pollspeak. Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal had the Wildcats at No. 5 and the Republic's Doug Haller, who has the lone Arizona vote this year, has the Wildcats at No. 7. UA was ranked No. 12.
-- Colorado players are going to train with Navy SEALs.