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Lloyd is Legit

Posted 05/03/2024 by Nate Bolinske

Tommy Lloyd’s passion for basketball, and skill of coaching has maximized the Arizona Wildcats team potential. photo courtesy of James Snook, USA TODAY

Leading Arizona Men’s Basketball with pride, Tommy Lloyd envisions a long and successful career with the Wildcats.

The University of Arizona men’s basketball team has recently struggled with finding a fitting coach for their roster, but their search may finally have come to its conclusion. Having coached for almost three years, Tommy Lloyd has exemplified elite coaching skills on numerous occasions, in addition to displaying unbelievable recruiting experience. First being hired as head coach for the Arizona Men’s Basketball team in April of 2021, Lloyd brought questions to college basketball fans around the country in regards to his capabilities. Since then, Lloyd has proven his excellence with a 86-19 win to loss record, as well as a 43-11 league record. The Arizona Wildcats have dominated their league with Lloyd at the helm, winning the Pac-12 Tournament five times within the last nine years, Lloyd led the team to two of them. 

Lloyd isn’t just a coach, he’s a teammate and a leader, teaching his players important elements of skill, dedication, and passion on the court like no other. Reflecting on his transition to leading one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs, The University of Arizona webpage hosts Lloyd’s personal reactions: “It’s been an incredible honor to take on this role and continue the legacy of Arizona basketball. There’s a rich history here, and I’m committed to upholding the standards of excellence that define the program.” Lloyd’s outstanding commitment to the program shows his greatness and his dedication to improving the team as a whole. Before his coaching career, Lloyd grew up in Spokane, Washington, where his love for basketball began at a young age. He adored the sport as a player before transitioning to coaching, taking his first steps as one under the legendary coach Mark Few at Gonzaga University. With coach Few’s instruction, Lloyd developed a plethora of basketball knowledge, later commenting that “coach Few instilled in me the importance of building relationships and maximizing the potential of every player…Those lessons have been instrumental in shaping my approach to coaching (All Sports Tucson).”

Lloyd’s player-centered coaching philosophy has proven its merits with the Arizona Wildcats, contributing to their resurgence under his leadership. Lloyd’s abilities have strongly affected his players, shaping their confidence in their coach and themselves. His players have seen his athletic prowess firsthand, as well as his monumental influence, both on and off the court. Lloyd mentors each and every one of his players with passion, so that they can develop into stars in college and the professional workplace. His ability to develop and maximize the potential of his players is apparent, as shown through one of his most successful players: Benedict Mathurin, who morphed into a star under Lloyd’s guidance. In the 2021-22 season, Mathurin averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, earning him the Pac-12 Player of the Year Award as well as a selection in the 6th round of the NBA draft. Since then, Mathurin has gone on to win Rookie of the Year in the NBA, capping off an incredible opening season with the Indiana Pacers. Yet more proof of Lloyd’s talent was displayed in the 2021 season when his team boasted five different players averaging double-digit scoring, showcasing the versatility of his spectacularly balanced roster. 

Lloyd’s impact on the Arizona basketball program has been nothing short of incredible. Following struggles early in the 2017-2018 seasons, Lloyd has transformed the team into an intimidating group, leading his first season with the Wildcats to a 33-4 record and a Pac-12 Regular Season Championship. The team’s success has earned Lloyd numerous awards, including being named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and NABC District 19 Coach of the year. Lloyd has seen so much success due to his excellent coaching mind, as well as his impressive recruiting abilities. Lloyd has been a significant figure in shaping and rebuilding this Arizona team, as he has instilled pride and accountability among his players. Under Lloyd, the Wildcats have consistently been the top academic performers in the Pac-12, with several players earning academic honors. Lloyd’s recruiting prowess has been a key factor in the success of the team on the hardwood. He has consistently brought in top tier talent, including Caleb Love, a star at North Carolina, as well as Kylan Boswell, a top five player, and a five star student of the 2022 recruiting class. This recruiting has brought timely success for Arizona, as the team prospers off of highly skilled stars, most of whom were developed directly by Lloyd. Lloyd’s impact has been massive for the Arizona basketball team, players, staff, and fans, as his excellence and commitment to the program shine brightly as his career continues.