Dan Majerle has never been one to shy away from the big moment.
This held true as a small school college star, a first-round draft pick, an eventual three-time NBA All-Star/Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor inductee and now as the head basketball coach at Grand Canyon University.
In Majerle’s first season with the Antelopes this past fall he led GCU to a 15-15 record, their first in Division-I, and he has even higher expectations heading into next season including a non-conference schedule which features Kentucky, Indiana, Harvard, New Mexico and Tulsa among others.
Majerle, who is in north Texas for the Final Four, says the ‘Lopes quest for consistent success starts with who he and his staff are recruiting, as well as how they are preparing the players in the program.
“The Kentucky’s and Duke’s, they get [top-flight] guys…with their TV contracts and the national exposure they get,” Majerle told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Monday. “It’s my job at Grand Canyon to be a really good mid-major and to recruit really good players who are going to get better.”
The small, private Christian university is getting more and more exposure as their program improves and Valley sports icon Jerry Colangelo continues to push the brand through his expansive contacts and networks in basketball circles.
The Final Four has also served as a way for Majerle to “form friendships and bonds” with his coaching peers. During his stay in the Metroplex he attended a Nike dinner where coaches chat and discuss everything from X’s and O’s to possibly scheduling each other as future opponents.
“Everybody is interested in what we’re doing and how we’re doing,” Majerle explained. “So those are great conversations.”
He said the roster will be restructured a bit next season and hinted some players who were recruited by former GCU coach Russ Pennell, won’t be returning or play a more limited role in the program moving forward.
He left nothing to the imagine as to who he’ll be pulling for in Monday’s Kentucky-UCONN title game.
“I gotta go with Kentucky, he said. “I want to play the past champion next year.”
As mentioned earlier, Majerle’s never been afraid of the big stage.