Near the players' entrance to the court at the McKale Center, Arizona coach Sean Miller now has a message mounted on the wall.
"A Player's Program. Past. Current. Future."
The emphasis is on the future at Arizona, as the school, in order to impress recruits, is spending about $250,000 on renovating the hallways of the McKale Center, decorating them with life-sized cutouts of NBA draft picks the program has produced, a tribute to former coach Lute Olson and other eye-catching displays.
From the Arizona Daily Star:
"The way recruiting is going now, most decisions are made before they can come on an official visit" during the fall of their senior year, [associate athletic director Ryan] Hansen said. "It used to be, 'Come to a game and get a feel.' Then it was, 'Come in the fall and watch a football game.' Now, very rarely is there is a game, so it's 'How can we bring that atmosphere to McKale without a game?'"
UA aimed to replicate the game-day experience in part by using photo wallpaper backdrops featuring panoramic views of McKale Center at its best - during the UA-Stanford home game last season (an emotional game played a day after the Jan. 8 shootings) and the Feb. 19 "white-out" game against Washington.
"We wanted to be consistent with our theme," UA coach Sean Miller said. "Our theme is really simple -- it's a players' program, the incredible past that's been shaped by so many great teams, players and coaches. Continuing to honor that is a big part of it; developing our current team … and, obviously, recruiting the future is a big part of it."
Dropping about a quarter-million dollars on improving the hallways shows just how committed Arizona is to attracting recruits to its program, considering it would use subliminal messages to help get it done.
The renovations come at a time when Miller has managed to recruit well on a national scale and in his second year led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight. According to the Arizona Daily Star, every Elite Eight team in the program's history gets recognized as part of the hallway decorations.
If the momentum in recruiting continues, there could be many more to come.