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Robert Robbins, left, and new basketball head coach Tommy Lloyd, and athletic director Dave Heeke pose for photos during Thursday’s news conference in McKale Center.

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Turns out, Arizona president Robert Robbins probably knew of Tommy Lloyd some 16 years before UA made Lloyd its new men's basketball coach last month.

In a story on CBS Sports, Dennis Dodd wrote that it's "funny how serendipity works," when noting how former Gonzaga star Ronny Turiaf was found to have an enlarged aortic root in his heart when he took a physical with the Lakers after being drafted in 2005.

Turiaf was the first international standout Lloyd had landed for Gonzaga who played for the Bulldogs.

"If he played, it would have been Hank Gathers," Robbins, then the chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford Medical Center, told Sports Illustrated in 2006, referring to the Loyola Marymount star who died during a 1990 game. "Could've been months or years, but eventually his aorta would've ruptured or dissected."

SI's story quoted Turiaf saying Craig Miller was the surgeon, but we've been told Robbins was the on-call doctor when Turiaf returned with complications. In the CBS story, Lloyd said there was "some leakage" and that "Bobby had to go in and to reopen him up and fix it." 

Dodd noted that "Bobby" is Robbins, who became UA's president in 2017 then was involved in hiring both Lloyd and new football coach Jedd Fisch. (And before that, Robbins also played a role in UA's hiring of Kevin Sumlin).

"He is involved which I don't think is a bad thing," Lloyd told CBS. "He's a heart surgeon so he's smart. He's got a vision of what he wants this place to be. I appreciate him and Dave giving me a chance. They had to think outside the box on that one. They didn't take the easy, traditional sitting head coach.

"I remember telling them, 'If (I get the job), you'll probably have to justify this.' Dr. Robbins said, 'Why? You're one of the best coaches in the country. I don't care if you're an assistant or not.' "


Dalen Terry has received an invitation to the U19 trials for USA Basketball's U19 World Cup team, according to Stockrisers. If he makes the team, he could be facing teammates Azuolas Tubelis (who has been invited to play for Lithuania), Oumar Ballo (Mali) and maybe even  Benn Mathurin (Canada).


The speculation over TyTy Washington's decision is now focusing in on Kentucky, especially after John Calipari hired Ron "Chin" Coleman as an assistant coach.

This article originally ran on tucson.com.

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