On a day when people outside of Bud Walton Arena got the info that Razorback guard Jeff Peterson had been given his release, Jeff Daniels was taking care of the youngsters inside of the facility.
Daniels, Arkansas' director of basketball operations, was overseeing the Razorbacks' high school team camp that started Friday and will run through Sunday.
The team camp will be followed Sunday afternoon by an individual one, which will last through Wednesday as head coach Mike Anderson begins to put his stamp on the program.
"Obviously the biggest thing for us is to just be in the building and doing something basketball-related is something we have really been looking forward to," Daniels said. "We want to do our best to teach these young men some fundamentals and help them in their development."
The team camp features some 20 teams, including a plethora of in-state ones and out-of-state squads from Birmingham (AL) John Carroll, Columbia (MO) Hickman and Shawnee Mission (KA).
"I know the teams around here enjoy getting to play teams that they don't get to during the season," Daniels said. "It really benefits them to see different styles and different players."
Those out-of-state teams are from areas that the current Arkansas staff used to reside in while coaching at UAB and Missouri.
"We are excited about all the schools from Arkansas that are here and also the ones that came from out-of-state," Daniels said. "These is kind of the model that we used at our other stops – get a lot of the teams from around here and some of the out-of-state ones where we have contacts with. It's worked out well for us."
This weekend's team camp also gives the Razorback coaches a chance to get to visit with the high school coaches.
"It really allows us to develop a relationship with the high school coaches and that's always a great thing – to let them know what we are all about while trying to share some of our knowledge and how we do things," Daniels said.
The team camp serves a two-fold purpose.
"These teams are coached by their high school coaches so it gives them a chance to work on things and also gives us a chance to evaluate some of the younger talent," said Daniels, who has was with Anderson for a year at UAB and the last six at Missouri.
Arkansas will also host a skills camp June 23-30 and a position camp on August 6.
Former Razorback players who have made pledges to appear for at least one of those camps include current Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson and Chicago Bull Ronnie Brewer.
Daniels also noted that other former Razorback stars such Todd Day, Dwight Stewart, Clint McDaniel and Jannero Pargo are also going to try and make an appearance.
Daniels will be happier to see Stewart and McDaniel now then he was back in 1994 when he brought his University of Montevallo (AL) NAIA team into Bud Walton Arena for an exhibition bashing at the hands of the eventual national champions.
"We took a brow-beating, but the atmosphere was just something you could only hope to be a part of one day," Daniels said. "We also came in here with Missouri so I am 0-2 in this building. I am ready to win a few games here and am excited about experiencing the passion the Arkansas fans have for their sports programs."
O o o
Arkansas released a statement Friday afternoon confirming that Peterson had asked for his release and it had been granted.
Peterson started his career at Iowa and redshirted a year at Arkansas before playing last season.
He recently graduated and thus will be able to play at another school without having to sit out again.
"I was a bit surprised that Jeff has decided not to return for his final year," Anderson said in a release. "I wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Peterson started 23 games last season while averaging 6.3 points, but likely would have had trouble finding minutes with incoming freshman guards B.J. Young and Rashad Madden.
"I appreciate everything that the Razorback program has done for me," Peterson said in a release. "My number one objective when I came here was to earn my degree and I accomplished that in May. The coaches and fans have been great in my two years, but I just felt that it was time to explore other opportunities."
Arkansas could now choose to take NCAA-mandated scholarship reduction next season instead of waiting to the 2012-2013 season.
Peterson is the second Razorback player to have his scholarship release request granted as junior-to-be forward Glenn Bryant received his last weekend.
Arkansas Gets Camps Started
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