Arizona job goes wanting

So when did Southern California become a better basketball job than Arizona?

That appears to be the case after Trojans coach Tim Floyd on Thursday turned down the chance to escape the shadow of football coach Pete Carroll and go to a program that has won a national championship.

But these aren’t the Lute Olson-coached Wildcats anymore. Their stature has slid so far that Tubby Smith decided to stay at Minnesota and Mark Few at Gonzaga. And now Floyd has turned them down.

Minnesota, Gonzaga and USC, all better than Arizona? Apparently so.

This still could turn out well for Arizona if it lands Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel, but that’s assuming he would take the job knowing he was at least the fourth choice. Capel’s star has risen enough that he might see what other openings are out there or simply remain in Norman.

All this has to be troubling news in basketball-crazed Tucson, where fans might be fearing the Wildcats’ best days are behind them.

• ROAD WARRIORS — The thousands of Hawaiians who live in the valley should be thrilled.

Rather than return to Honolulu after playing Washington State on Sept. 12, Hawaii’s football team will spend the subsequent week in Las Vegas to practice for its Sept. 19 game at UNLV.

That matchup always draws a good crowd to Sam Boyd Stadium, with plenty of green-clad fans filling seats that would normally be empty. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin even questioned — jokingly, we think — whether it’s an away game for Hawaii.

It’s hard to blame the Warriors for trying to find a place to call home. After playing UNLV, they’ll return to Honolulu before heading out for a Sept. 30 game at Louisiana Tech.

“We’ll come home and do our laundry,” coach Greg McMackin told the Honolulu Advertiser, “and we’ll get back on the road.”

• FOR PETE’S SAKE — Talk about revisionist history.

USC coach Pete Carroll told NFL scouts he wasn’t snubbing quarterback Mark Sanchez but rather testing him to see if he was committed to his decision to turn pro early.

But those who watched Carroll during Sanchez’s announcement in January might not be convinced. The coach made public his disagreement with the decision and failed to stand next to Sanchez when reporters asked questions.

At USC’s pro day Wednesday, Carroll gave scouts a ringing endorsement of Sanchez. But to claim he was merely testing Sanchez is an insult to common sense.

• TRAIL OF BOOS — The Cincinnati Reds are part of the latest great move to settle the West — in this case Arizona spring training sites.

And the good folks of Sarasota, Fla., aren’t happy to see the Reds leaving. They have trained in Sarasota for the past 12 years and in Florida since the 1920s.

Fans at Thursday’s final spring training game prior to the move booed Sarasota mayor Lou Ann Palmer before Cincinnati’s 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I’m glad so many of you are angry with us, I really am, because I’m angry with us, too,” she said.

The Reds wanted to stay but never received public money for stadium upgrades.


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