Summer Hoops

Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson participated on the SEC's Summer Basketball Teleconference Monday and had updates on injured star Marshawn Powell's rehab, transfer Alandise Harris' eligibility and his team's upcoming exhibition tour of Italy.

Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson said on Monday's SEC Summer Basketball Teleconference that injured star Marshawn Powell is right on schedule with his rehab.

Powell (6-7, 220) played just two games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

"He is progressing pretty nicely," Anderson said. He is getting a chance to do some reps shooting the basketball and today was actually the first day he has been able to go up off two feet and explode to the basket. That rehabilitation has come along really well."

Arkansas gets 10 days of practice before taking an exhibition tour of Italy on Aug. 10-19.

Those practices will give the Arkansas staff a chance to see where Powell is as far as being healthy.

"We have the opportunity to go to Italy – not only Marshawn – but our entire basketball team and it gives us the opportunity for a sneak preview of hopefully some things to come," Anderson said. "We get a chance to practice from August 1 until August 9 in preparation for going over to play in some exhibition games. So it will give us a benchmark to see he is at that time to see if he will play or how much he will play as we go over to Italy."

Former Little Rock Central star Alandise Harris, who transferred from Houston this spring, may not be able to make the trip.

That depends on the success of a waiver that Harris – who will be a junior - hopes will allow him to play next season instead of sitting out the year as a redshirt.

"We will still petition to hopefully make that happen, but it is still a work in progress," Anderson said. "The only way he would be able to go is if the waiver is granted. He would be able to come at that point in time."

Harris is the only player of a six-player incoming recruiting class not on campus at this point and those players are all able to go through limited workouts during the summer months.

"We are utilizing the two-hour window of individual workouts, individual development during the summer months with our team," Anderson said. "We have for the most part all of our team here on campus so hopefully we can get our guys acclimated as we get ready to venture into year two."

Arkansas finished 18-14 last season in Anderson's first year as head coach of the Razorbacks.

That squad – which will be able to add former Fayetteville High star Fred Gulley to the active roster in December – ran out of gas after starting the campaign 16-6.

"We have added some more pieces to our basketball team," Anderson said. "One of the things I thought we lacked last year was depth. Obviously size was something that we lacked as well.

"We have added some depth in four freshman and a junior college player in Coty Clarke – the second leading rebounder in junior college basketball," Anderson added.

Anderson was asked about the new NCAA rule that allows unlimited texting and he said that his staff is trying to balance it.

"That is going to be up to each individual program in terms of how often they do it," Anderson said. "The key is that you have the opportunity to do it…You don't overbear them with it. Kids are smart enough know that they will text you if they are interested and they will kind of be the deciding factor on whether they want to hear from a coach or not.

Anderson said summer brings another challenge when it comes to texting.

"I try not worry them, especially through the summer months, but these kids are gone a lot and maybe texting is the easiest way to stay in touch. I guess that is the way I talked to my own daughter – through texting. For some kids it is good. You just can't hold them on the phone."

During the teleconference, Anderson was asked about sending new Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray a congratulatory note.

"Rick is one of those up and coming coaches and I had the opportunity to meet him when he was at Purdue for quite awhile," Anderson said. "We used to play those guys. There are some guys that you strike up conversations with and you follow those guys…Obviously coming to another league, I just wanted to welcome him and wish him luck up there."

Arkansas and Missouri – who is officially joining the SEC on July 1 along with Texas A&M – will be matched up as traditional opponents and play home-and-home each season on the court.

Anderson left the Tigers to return to the Razorbacks, where he was an assistant coach for Nolan Richardson when he used to go up against former Missouri coach Norm Stewart.

That certainly riled up the Tigers fans and will no doubt spark some passion in the series.

"When I was here earlier Missouri and Arkansas always had a great series that went back with Coach Richardson and Coach Stewart," Andersons said. "They used to play each other quite a bit. For the most part, they are states that touch each other. It's not like it is a game that has not been played before.

"Of course when hen I got the job at Missouri we played them home-and-home," Anderson added. "Now the difference is that we are in the same league and it is a place that I coached at. That being said, I am sure they will be a lot more into the game… Arkansas is a tremendous program and the University of Missouri is a tremendous program."

"They bring a great deal to the league, what Mike Alden has done with the entire program and I am proud to have been a part of it," Anderson continued.

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