OGDEN -- Joe Cravens finally has the job of head basketball coach at Weber State. But how successful he is recruiting a former Wildcat may determine his success -- at least for the short haul.

Specifically, Cravens will focus his initial recruiting effort by starting with his partner on the Wildcat bench the past two seasons -- Guy Beach.Convincing Beach to remain an assistant with the Wildcats appears to be key to keeping Weber State's two best players. Both Harold Arceneaux and Eddie Gill have threatened to transfer or make an attempt to jump to the NBA over dissatisfaction with the decision made by WSU administration to hire Cravens rather than Beach. Both played for Beach at the College of Eastern Utah as freshmen before joining their former coach at Weber State this past season as juniors.

Beach has been offered the position of associate head coach and reportedly would receive a substantial pay increase if he elects to return to WSU.

"I told Joe I needed a few days to think about things," said Beach, who plans to attend the Final Four this weekend at St. Petersburg, Fla., and decide his future next week.

"I'm happy for Joe and wish him all the luck in the world," Beach said. "I'm going to make a decision that's best for my career and my family."

Only a week ago, both players were leaning heavily toward returning to Weber State if either Cravens or Beach were hired.

But now both players say they're disappointed that the university administration didn't consult them before making an announcement.

"We ran up and down the court this year," Arceneaux said. "We were the ones sweating out there. We knew what the coaches were doing. We know who was there and which coach was doing what.

"I think we should have had some input on the decision. But the administration didn't feel that way."

"I think it should have been coach Beach's job, hands down," added Gill.

Meanwhile, Cravens is doing his best to smooth thing over.

He talked with both Arceneaux and Gill Monday afternoon -- "I did a lot of the talking, and they did a lot of listening" -- but he wasn't willing to discuss much of what was said in the meeting. "They were very subdued," he said. "I really admire their loyalty, but if we're all going to be here together in the same boat we have to make sure we're all happy. It won't do anybody any good to be here miserable next year.

"They (Arcenaus and Gill) have to get through some things themselves, and I really can't make any decisions for them. Obviously, I hope they decide to stay."

Cravens said the whole brouhaha has surprised him. "It's not like we had a horrible relationship or anything, but I understand where their emotions are coming from."

As far as the competition with Beach, Cravens said it is a case much like two close friends asking the prettiest girl in school to the prom. Only one of the friends gets accepted, and while the other is happy his pal has a dream date, he's still plenty bummed about not having the prom queen on his arm. Cravens hopes to quickly put the mess behind him and concentrate on recruiting players interested in joining, not leaving, the program. Only one player has been signed to replace the six departing seniors: Quynn Tebbs, a transfer from Arizona and Bingham High School.

Both Beach and Cravens have previously been on the recruiting trail but have not secured any commitments. However, with all the in-state schools already at or past their scholarship limits, the Wildcats may be able to land a handful of the state's best high school and junior college talent.

Weber State's success in the NCAA Tournament two weeks ago is expected to pay some dividends on the recruiting front, but there is still the task of convincing athletes to become Wildcats. "I was on the phone this morning and talked to a high school kid form Las Vegas," Cravens said. "He had no idea we had beaten North Carolina. It made me wonder if he's been out of the country or something."

Associated Press contributed to this story.