Matta recalls tight-fisted era with roomie Miller

LOS ANGELES – BFFs Sean Miller and Thad Matta roomed together, recruited together, had shooting contests together and made road trips together while on the same staff at Miami, Ohio and Xavier years ago.

When asked to describe his roommate’s ways, Matta said: “sloppy, sloppy.” Matta also remembered that Miller always traveled light.

“The thing I’ve learned about Sean over time is whenever we’d go somewhere, he’d forget his wallet,” Ohio State coach Matta said to smiles Thursday.

The two were assistants at Miami for a year, and Miller was Matta’s top assistant at Xavier for three more before Matta took the Ohio State job in 2004 and the Musketeers’ promoted Miller to head coach. The two will meet in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen on Thursday afternoon.
The Millers stayed with Matta for several weeks after Miller joined the Xavier staff in 2001, when Miller’s wife was pregnant with their third son.

“If it was a couple of weeks, it probably felt like a couple of months to Thad and his wife,” Miller said. “We were that young family going from first base to second base. We were more than happy to take them up on their offer.”

The two still text or talk several times a month, Miller said, and Matta said Miller sought advice when he was considering the Arizona job in 2009.

Their families could be even closer soon, after a hallway conversation Thursday at the Staples Center. Among the topics of conversation: Miller’s oldest son, Austin.

“His son is a huge Ohio State fan, and the possibilities of him being a manager for us,” Matta said of the chat.

Miller has called Matta his closest friend in coaching.

“I want to win like crazy (Thursday), but if things don’t work out well, I couldn’t be happier for him, and I know he’s the same way,” Matta said.