Back on May 10th, Casey Hill announced that he’d be stepping down as the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors, a position that he held for four seasons. Hill had a plethora of success during that time as the Warriors maintained an 114-86 recor, including three postseason appearances. His time with the team was headlined by the Warriors winning the G League title in 2015.
In the three months following that move, Santa Cruz were silent about who their next head coach was going to be. That changed on Wednesday August 9th when the Santa Cruz Warriors officially announced that Aaron Miles would take over as their head coach.
Prior to his hiring, Miles was most well known for his work as a point guard on a Kansas Jayhawks squad that made two consecutive Final Four appearances in 2002 and 2003. After that, he spent the next ten years playing pro basketball for a wide range of teams from the Golden State Warriors and Reno Bighorns to Aris BC (Greece) and Krasnye Krylya (Russia).
Following that decade long career, Miles transitioned himself from the hardwood to the sidelines, as he was hired to be the assistant director of student-athlete development where he yet again had an opportunity to work under Bill Self. Although he was only with the team for one season, Miles still made an impact within the Kansas organization. Miles’ effect was shown by how his former Kansas colleagues responded to him getting hired by Santa Cruz.
“We are so proud of Aaron,” said Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend. “His rise in the coaching profession isn't a surprise because of his basketball IQ and his excellent communication skills. I think he'll be very successful leading these young men who are trying to fulfill their dreams because he has walked in those same shoes. We wish Aaron all the best and are excited to watch his career continue to grow.”
That praise surrounding Miles continues when we transition into his last role as the assistant of Florida Gulf Coast, which occurred during the 2016-17 season. Rather than a coach, the adoration came from their leading scorer Brandon Goodwin, who put up 18.5 points and 4.1 points on 51% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc last year with Florida Gulf Coast. In a statement to Ridiculous Upside, he said the following:
“Great assistant coach, especially for a young person,” Goodwin told Ridiculous Upside. “He stepped right in and changed the culture a little bit. He brought a different level of knowledge to the team as far as working with the guards. Showed me how to really be a point guard and how your work ethic is supposed to be. As a coach, he doesn't have much experience but he knows what it takes to win, and that's most important. He's full of energy, still learning, and still growing which is scary for a guy who just started. I'm excited to see what he does!”
While it will definitely be tough for Aaron Miles to come in and replace a great coach like Casey Hill, there’s reason to be optimistic about his potential with the team. Despite being a young coach, he’s already showed that he can work with his fellow colleagues while also being a great mentor to his young players. Those two traits could allow Miles to potentially be a great head coach for the Santa Cruz Warriors.