Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Sean Miller wanted to defend his former guys at Xavier.
Instead, he ended up appearing to condone their bloody brawl Saturday with Cincinnati that left eight players on both teams suspended.
Now, the Arizona coach is backtracking. In a big way.
“I made comments following our win Saturday over Clemson regarding my former team, Xavier University,” he said in a statement. “These remarks were in response to a question as to whether I have been following Xavier’s on-the-court successes this season. My comments were directed toward my admiration of their on-the-court toughness and their respective approach to giving great effort as a team.
“In no way was I condoning a fight. At the time of my press conference, I was only responding to my belief in several players that I once coached and a head coach, Chris Mack, that I have great respect for.”
Miller was originally quoted in the Arizona Daily Star as appearing to defend the Xavier players for their part in the brawl.
After the game, Xavier’s Tu Holloway also referred to the Xavier players as “gangsters” and said he and his teammates were “zipping them up.”
“If Cincinnati tries to do what they did (Saturday) they’re going to get a fight,” Miller said after Arizona beat Clemson on Saturday, per the Daily Star.
“So I’m proud of those guys.” […] “They have a chance to win it all,” Miller said. “It’s just such a great story. I’m really proud of those guys and I watch them any time that I can. No one’s going to bully those guys.”
He added he was not surprised about the brawl.
“Happens every game,” he told the Star. “I’m proud of those guys, I really am. I would fully expect there to be a fight.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.