Former NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player Miles Simon returned to his alma mater on July 28, 2005, as a member of Lute Olson’s coaching staff.
His impact on the squad was seen immediately in his first season, as the 2005-06 Wildcats ranked 11th nationally in steals per game (9.8 spg), and led the Pac-10 Conference in turnover margin (+5.82) and assist:turnover ratio (+1.13).
Simon, 30, was named an assistant coach following a six-year professional career that saw him play in the NBA, CBA and in four foreign countries. Since his retirement as a player in December 2004, he returned to Tucson and completed requirements towards a B.S. in Family Studies, which were fulfilled on July 20, 2005.
A four-year letterman for the Wildcats from 1994-98, Simon was a second-round pick of the Orlando Magic in the 1998 NBA Draft. He averaged 0.4 points, 0.2 rebounds and 0.2 steals for the club during the 1999 campaign before playing professionally in Israel, Italy, Venezuela and Turkey over the next five years.
He enjoyed his best season as a professional in 2001-02 playing for the Dakota Wizards of the Continental Basketball Association. That season Simon averaged 23.0 points and 5.1 assists per game in leading the Wizards to the CBA championship. Along the way, he was named league Most Valuable Player, Newcomer of the Year and playoff MVP. Simon tallied game-high totals of 24 points and nine assists in the championship-game victory.
A 6-foot-5 guard from Fullerton, Calif., Simon was a first team All-America selection in 1998 by the Associated Press, the John R. Wooden Award, The Sporting News and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He also earned all-Pac-10 Conference and NABC all-District 15 honors as a senior. In 114 career appearances (90 starts), Simon averaged 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
During his UA career, Simon helped the Wildcats to a 106-27 (.797) record, the 1997 national championship and one Pac-10 championship (1998). He finished his career ranked seventh on Arizona’s career points scored list with 1,664, while ranking sixth with 455 career assists and fourth with 176 career three-point field goals.
In 14 career NCAA Tournament games, Simon averaged 18.4 points per game. En route to Arizona’s 1997 national championship, Simon averaged 22.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as he was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
“I’m very excited to add Miles to our coaching staff,” said Olson. “I think he will be an outstanding addition. It really is a luxury to have added such an energetic person to our staff who was a great player and takes great pride in the Arizona basketball family.”