John Pelphrey press conference - Southeastern La.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas opens its season on Friday with the 7:05 p.m. home game against Southeastern Louisiana in Bud Walton Arena. SLU was 17-13 a year ago. Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Wednesday to preview the game. Following is a partial transcript of his press conference.
“We’re starting to see more and more of this in terms of parity from one league to the next. For our team, they will all be great challenges. What also makes it tough for us is that it’s not uncommon for this group of guys to go into a difficult environment and play well. Last year, they played at Iowa (lost 57-50), at LSU (lost 72-62), at Alabama (lost 63-61 in overtime) and at Mississippi State (lost 84-59). They will come in here looking to get a win.”
SLU:“They are very deliberate on offense and will be disciplined. I’m sure they will get their all-league player, Kevyn Green, the ball. I think he made 80 threes a year ago. We have to make sure we find him. We have to limit them to one shot. They may full-court press on occasion. Perimeter shooting will be a commodity from our side of it.”
Ready for the opener:“We try to take advantage of every second we have to get prepared. At the end of the day, we need the guys to show up and be ready to play. We need to take what we do in practice, from an organizational standpoint, and get that in the game. The toughest lessons you learn are out of defeat. We’re not ready yet. We’re still working on it. I don’t think I’ll even know on game day if we’re ready.“I’m curious about all of it. When we play and get a feel for this, I’ll have a better comfort level for where we are.“This is the wrong league to try to find sympathy in when you have the turnover in your roster that we’ve had. We have to be organized, good and focused. There’s probably a broader spectrum to look at it from, but I want us continuously attacking on offense and defense.”
Expectations for the opener:“I think we understand how we want to attack from an offensive standpoint. I don’t think we will be a high turnover team. I am concerned about consistency on defense.”
Optimistic after exhibition games:“There’s a lot of optimism. We’re excited to start the season and have the chance to play in front of our fans. I’m excited to see Mike (Washington) and Mike (Sanchez) play, I’m excited to see if Courtney (Fortson) and Rotnei (Clarke) continue their relationship on the court and if Stefan (Welsh) can grow and lead through good times and bad. A big key will be the development of Andre Clark and Brandon Moore. All of that is going through my mind.”
Defense:“There have been some bright spots, but give Dillard credit. They made 12 threes. They shot the ball very well against us. We’ve made progress and looked at things in terms of full-court and half-court.”
Starters:“Regardless of who starts, all of those guys will get a chance.”
Marcus Monk (possibly joining the team following the fall semester):“It’s still going in that direction. To this point, I have not seen anything that will prevent that from happening, but nothing is finalized.”