Miller has no reason to leave Xavier

March, 27, 2009
BOSTON -- Xavier's Sean Miller deserves the same treatment Gonzaga's Mark Few receives: respect that he has a great gig with no reason to leave for a perceived higher-profile job.

Few gets romanced every year. He did with Indiana. It's going on now with Arizona. And the consensus is: Why would he want to leave Gonzaga when he loves the Spokane, Wash., area, makes well more than $1 million, can win the WCC every season, plays a national schedule and recruits elite players from the West who can make the jump to the NBA?

No one will fault Few if he never leaves the program he has taken to the top 20 every season.

That same respect should be granted to Miller. Sure, Virginia might covet Miller, and others soon could follow. But Miller has done a phenomenal job and has one of the best jobs in the country.

Xavier loves basketball. As Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said early Thursday (before his team defeated Xavier 60-55), the Musketeers have plenty of players the Panthers coveted. Miller has unbelievable support from the XU administration, and he loves living in Cincinnati. And oh, by the way, the X was just a possession or two from getting to the Elite Eight for the third time since 2004.

"We keep beating at the door, and one time we're going to kick it in,'' Miller said of getting to the Final Four. "I appreciate Xavier and living in Cincinnati. I love the guys we have in the program. They're really about winning and a lot of fun to be around. We lost [Thursday], and the way we lost doesn't go away easily.''

The knock other coaches had on Gonzaga was: Can you get to the Final Four with the Bulldogs? The answer is yes. The same question doesn't need to be asked at Xavier, either. The Musketeers dominate the Atlantic 10. Just look at the size, athleticism and strength of their team, and it's clear they're ahead of the rest of the A-10.

Miller certainly could be enticed by dollars, but Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski said he doesn't think he'll lose Miller. He shouldn't. Miller has a wonderful thing going, and he seems to appreciate every aspect of his job. Quality of life as a coach can mean knowing where you fit. Miller has found that at Xavier and he, like Few, is consistently maximizing his gig.

• Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was extremely complimentary of Villanova after the Blue Devils' 77-54 loss Thursday night. They had played the team that was the worst matchup for them, as Villanova could defend all five Duke positions.

The Blue Devils did exceed expectations this season, winning 30 games, claiming the ACC tournament title and earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAAs. The season was a success.

One player who ended his career with class was senior guard Greg Paulus. In the locker room after the game, Paulus didn't sulk. Instead, he sat freshman guard Elliot Williams down and told him how much the summer will mean to his career. He encouraged him to work hard. He was ensuring that Williams will carry on the Duke legacy of excellent point guards.

Paulus said he hopes to play professionally for a few seasons and then wants to coach. He already made his first move as a coach in that locker room at the TD Banknorth Garden. Paulus was a K disciple. He handled a reduction in minutes without a complaint and was a leader even after the season ended Thursday night.

• Duke junior guard Gerald Henderson didn't commit to staying or going to the NBA draft after the game, as expected. I anticipate Henderson will declare for the draft since he could be a lottery pick, but I will be surprised if sophomore Kyle Singler leaves.

"This loss is tough, but I really liked playing with Kyle and Gerald,'' Duke junior guard Jon Scheyer said. "Hopefully, we'll get a chance again to make a run at it.''

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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