John Pelphrey Press Conference - Practice Update

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks began practice for the 2007-08 season on Friday. Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Thursday to discuss the first few workouts. Following is a partial transcript of his press conference.

“It was exciting to see all those people who came out to support the team (6,200 at the Friday’s practice). There’s a lot of excitement this time of year. It was good to have a chance to interact with the fans before the scrimmage.

“So far we’ve had six workouts. Four-and-a-half have been good and one-and-a-half were not so good. We have six guys who have been here for a while and a couple of others who have been here a couple of years. Some of the things we want to get done will take some time. We’ll keep working.

“We have six seniors, so there’s a lot of experience, but we also have some habits that need to change. That’s not going to happen in six practices. They’ve made some adjustments and I’m pleased with some of the physical effort. We’re making progress towards what I call toughness. When practice gets hard or towards the end when things don’t go your way, adversity sets in and then you find out.

“I think it’s more mental than physical. We all have that. When you get tired and fatigued, we all tend to check out a little.”

Nate Rakestraw:

“The little finger on his right (shooting) hand is broken. It happened on Tuesday. He will be out six-to-eight weeks. He had lost about 25 points. He and Mike (Sanchez) were the two most consistent (freshmen) in getting to the right spots at the right time. He has a big-time skill in shooting the basketball and understands what to do.

“It hurts us because he was getting better. He was part of our limited guard depth and he could change the scoreboard in a couple of possessions. We need him to get back and be a part of this season. I’m sure it’s a little deflating for him. He’s put in a lot of hard work, but I think he will be a fast healer.”

Sonny Weems left hand injury:

“His hand is fine. Offensively, he is okay. Defensively, I would like to see him sustain some things.”

Gary Ervin:

“We all need to focus on what we do well and stay away from what we can’t. The problem is guys like to prove they can do what they can’t. Gary has a lot of experience. There should be nothing that rattles him. He’s a high-energy guy who can play on both ends, and he has the potential to be a high-assist guy. He also has the tendency to get the ball knocked out of his hands or to get knocked off balance. He has to be able to handle coaching. He doesn’t have to be great. We need him to be consistently good. If he can do that, it will really help us.”

Stefan Welsh at point guard:

“He’s giving tremendous effort, but he has to continue to learn and grow. At point guard, you have to share the sugar first. It comes to you last.”

Steven Hill:

“He is extremely confident on the defensive end. Offensively, he doesn’t play that way. I think he’s made some progress and is trying to get there. We need him to do more for us than three-to-five points a game. If he can get a couple of rebounds, putbacks and post moves each half, you’re talking about 10 points. He needs to have the same mindset on offense as he does on defense.”

Marcus Britt:

“He’s getting better and better. He really struggled with the early practices in the fall. I really like his toughness. I don’t know if it will be this year, but he will help us at some point in time.”

Michael Sanchez:

“He’s tough physically. He’s still getting used to finishing around the basket against our type of front line.”

Levan Patsatsia:

“He’s still a work in progress. The fact that he’s not accustomed to the American game has slowed his progress. He’s doing fine. There’s an adjustment period for every freshman, no matter where you’re from.”