So before they even get to the official start of practice, Arkansas' players had to get to a certain point physically in a conditioning program that began on Sept. 12.
"It was pretty intense," Anderson said. "If you're a newcomer and walk into that, it's something not desirable. They made it through it. Now I deem them ready to practice."
Newcomer Coty Clarke (6-7, 220) is one of those who had to get used to Anderson's pace.
"This was my first time on this level and it was a big jump up in terms of how hard you work before you even get to practice," Clarke said. "I also got a chance to see how we push it in practice before we took off for Italy. It's going to make us better because we are working harder than anybody else."
Junior guard Mardracus Wade saw the look in the eyes of some of his young teammates.
"How hard we work was definitely something that they were not used to, but they learned to get as much rest as possible and come back the next day ready to work even harder," Wade said. "It was up to us older guys to help them through it and learn how to finish a practice as well as start it."
The Razorbacks will officially get practice started Friday night with Prime Time at the Palace, an event that begins at 8 p.m. with an autograph session and followed at 9 p.m. with contests and eventually scrimmages by both the women's and men's teams.
Anderson, whose short-handed team was 16-6 last season before losing eight of its last 10 games, didn't try to hide his excitement about this season and what lies ahead.
"I came here day one rolling my sleeves up," Anderson said. "I'm always asked how it feels to be back. My focus is unbelievable in terms of getting Razorbacks basketball to the highest level. We've been working night and day to make sure we're doing all the right things."
The Razorbacks, who at times had just eight healthy bodies last season, have infused the roster with five signees and two transfers.
"I like this team because we've got a lot of different parts," Anderson said. "Now the challenge is to put all those parts together to become a better basketball team."
The team is led by sophomore B.J. Young, who was named a third team All-American by the Sporting News after deciding to return for a second year instead of jumping to the NBA.
"There is a lot of stuff that they (NBA advisors) told me that I needed to work on, but mostly I want to improve my defense and get bigger," Young said. "I am up to 185 pounds now and feel much stronger."
Anderson made it clear that he is not going into the opening of practice with any set line-up.
"I have no starters right now," Anderson said. "We'll learn a lot more when we get into practice. The young guys are fighting and bring a certain level of energy, a certain grit I like. We have more gritty guys and more motors."
Junior guard Mardracus Wade made it very clear that it wants to be the team's leader.
"That's a big thing on my to-do list," Wade said. "Leadership has to take on this team…Now the older guys have a sense on what this team needs and what this team is looking for. Now we talk to the guys a little differently, we push guys more, we try to be on time and show these young guys that this is how it is done."
Anderson will welcome back forward Marshawn Powell, who played just two games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Powell, who Anderson says is not yet 100 percent, played in three of the Razorbacks' four games in a 4-0 exhibition tour of Italy in August.
"As he's come back, he was running guarded at first but now he's taking full strides," Anderson said. "Hopefully that's a sign of him getting closer and closer to where he needs to be and wants to be."
Anderson was asked if he expects this team to be an NCAA Tournament squad. He said it too early in the process to know.
"My goal is to get this team ready game by game," Anderson said. "If we do that, then what happens at the end of the season is hopefully something we've worked to get toward."
The schedule is daunting with non-conference home games against Syracuse and Oklahoma, a road one at Michigan, dates with Arizona State and either Wisconsin or Creighton and 18 SEC games this season.
"We have 18 league games for the first time in school history," Anderson said. "Every conference game is really huge."
Anderson, who has no seniors on his roster for the first time he can remember, expects to bring excitement back to Bud Walton Arena.
"Our fans were great last year and I expect them to be even greater this year," Anderson said. "People are excited about Razorback basketball. They saw glimpses last year of what it can be. Hopefully we can put more of it together this year."
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson talks about his team and the 2012-13 season during the Razorbacks' Media Day event at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson and his team pose for a group photo during Media Day at Bud Walton Arena.