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Arizona head coach Sean Miller issues support for FBI NCAA investigation

Arizona coach Sean Miller listens to questions during the Pac-12's NCAA college basketball media day, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

University of Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller threw his full support behind an FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball, which includes charges against one of Miller’s assistant coaches Emanuel Richardson, during Pac-12 media day on Thursday.

“As the investigation into these allegations continues, it does so with my support,” Miller said. “During this period of time, I’m going to continue to do the things I’ve done over the last eight years as the head coach at the University of Arizona, with compliance at the forefront. Most importantly, as it applies to today, of making sure that I give our team my undivided attention, and our staff’s undivided attention so we can have the best season we possibly can have.”

The 48-year-old Miller, who enters his eighth season in Tucson, said he stood by an earlier statement in regards to many questions about the specifics of the investigation.

Miller first released a statement regarding the situation on Oct. 3. Athletic Director Dave Heeke, university president Robert C. Robbins and the athletic department also made statements. On the same day, Arizona announced the cancellation of its team media day.

Richardson was one of 10 coaches charged by federal prosecutors in a New York City federal court with fraud and corruption in college basketball on Sept. 26.

Miller said his players can only grow from this incident.

“Again, back to my point, when you’re a young person, as part of our program as you go through this right now, it will do nothing but strengthen you for life after college,” Miller said. “There’s going to be not the perfect storm awaiting you. There’s going to be somebody in your life that gets sick unexpectedly, there is going to be a certain situation you can’t believe happens, and I think that all players in our program rely on the lessons they’ve learned from college. That’s what I mentioned a minute ago.

“My directive right now is to make sure that I do the best job that I possibly can to coach these guys, to teach them, to love them, to coach them hard, and bring out the best in what I hope could be a very, very successful season.”

As far as how this scandal may affect the program’s supporters, Miller said he has been grateful for all the things the community has done for him and his family.

“You know what, no one loves the community in Tucson more than me and really my family,” Miller said “They have embraced our family from the very second that we came to Tucson from Ohio. They give us their heart and soul. There are 14,500 every game, and they love the Arizona Wildcats. It’s a cult following. It’s a culture there. I think anytime that we lose a game, I feel for them. When anything negative happens, you certainly feel for them.

“By the same degree, I think they understand that there are certain ups and downs that accompany sports, and we certainly look forward to providing them with some great moments this year.”

The Pac-12 conference announced Thursday it was forming a task force, separate from the NCAA commission, to get answers. Miller said nothing but good things can come from the task force.

“I also support what anybody can do to help make our game better to protect people, players,” Miller said. “You think of college basketball, you want to think of March Madness, you want to think of Final Fours, you want to see great stories.”

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