Arkansas Welcomes In A Legend

Arkansas (2-0) and SMU (2-0) - now coached by Hall of Famer Larry Brown - will meet Monday night at Bud Walton Arena in a clash of former Southwest Conference foes.

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson will welcome a colleague into Bud Walton Arena Monday night who has won both a collegiate national championship at Kansas in 1988 and an NBA World title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.

He's a Hall of Famer, one of the most recognizable coaches in the business and one who decided to get back into the coaching game one more time last season at age 72.

That would be SMU head coach Larry Brown, who will bring the Mustangs (2-0) into a 7 p.m. meeting with the Razorbacks (2-0) in the 154th game in the series between old Southwest Conference foes.

"He loves the game," Anderson said. "He is still involved. You are going to have guys that love the game of basketball and he has done a great job at SMU.

"You know he is going to bring in a team that is going to come in and compete and try to win," Anderson added. "Our job is to take care of business at home. But it should be a great game for our fans."

Arkansas won its 16th straight home game Friday night when it downed Louisiana 76-63 with a late spurt in which the Razorbacks scored 17 of the game's last 20 points.

"You thought we got tested tonight – this is going to be a big-time test," Anderson said. "They've got depth, they've got size, they've got athletes. So it is going to be a great ballgame."

The Mustangs will be without Jalen Jones, a 6-7 forward who was the team's leading scorer last season while averaging 14 points and 7.7 rebounds for a 15-17 team last season.

But after averaging 32 minutes per game last season, Jones has decided to transfer because he was likely going to have that number of minutes reduced due to an influx of talent.

That includes 6-11, 220-pound center Yanick Moreira, the nation's number one junior college prospect last season while averaging 18.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks, and McDonald's All American guard Keith Frazier (6-5, 190), a former Dallas Kimball star.

Brown added those two stars into a mix that includes four returning starters in Nick Russell (6-4, 210), Ryan Manuel (6-4, 185), Cannen Cunningham (6-10, 225 and Shawn Williams (6-7, 230) and transfers from Illinois in Crandall Head (6-4, 180), Villanova in Markus Kennedy (6-9, 245) and Illinois State's Nic Moore (5-9, 170) – who all became eligible this season.

"Now is the next test, an SMU team that I think is kind of underrated, but in my mind they are one of the best teams in the country," Anderson said. "When you got a guy with the size of Yanick, I have watched this kid play the last two years. He was one of the best junior college players in the country, 6-11, a shot-blocker, skilled center and very active.

"And you look at this team here they have more components," Anderson said. "Shawn Williams, a transfer from Texas. His father is from Arkansas, I am very familiar with him. Then you have a McDonald's All-American in Keith Frazier."

The Mustangs are picked sixth this season in the 10-team America Athletic Conference behind defending national champion Louisville, UConn, Memphis, Cincinnati and Temple.

Frazier was tabbed as the AAC's Preseason Rookie of the Year.

SMU has downed TCU (69-61) at American Airlines Arena and Rhode Island (89-58) at Garland, Texas' Curtis Culwell Center, where it will play six home games while its campus home Moody Coliseum is undergoing $47 million worth of renovations.

Nic Moore, who came with assistant coach and head coach in waiting Tim Jankovich from Illinois State, led the way in the last game with 20 points while hitting four 3-pointers.

"I remember him being one of the better players in the (Missouri) Valley (Conference)," Anderson said. "As we know, with Wichita State and Illinois State, you have got some good teams over there. This kid was one of the better guards in that league. He's a little, quick guard that can shoot the basketball."

Anderson noted that Arkansas has to do a better job with Moore than it did with Louisiana star point guard Elfrid Payton, who had 27 points, but also nine turnovers in the loss to the Razorbacks.

"We have got to do a better job of containing than we did the other night with Payton," Anderson said. "That's one thing I know we have got to do. If not, then he is going to be disruptive. He can put the ball in the hole. He has got some players to go along with them.

"It isn't just Nic and Frazier," Anderson added. "There are some other players on that team. And so we have just to prepare the best we can against a team that I think is going to do well in their league."

Ben Moore (6-8, 185) added 13 points and 9 rebounds in the win over Rhode Island while Frazier and Kennedy had 9 points each, Moreira 8 points and 6 rebounds as the Mustangs shot 55.4 percent from the field.

Moore also had 13 points and Manuel 12 to lead the way in a season-opening victory in which they shot just 41.7 percent on their field goal attempts.

Arkansas was led Friday night by 6-6, 230-pound junior forward Alandise Harris, who had 19 points off the bench in the win.

"He's grasping what we're asking him to do," Anderson said. "He's been in a position where he comes off the bench, but as I told him, it's about the minutes that he's going to play. To me, he is a starter. He'll certainly be one of the finishers. He's one of those guys that as time goes on, I can trust him to put the ball in his hands and he can go and make some plays for us.

"But I think if you ask Alandise, he wants to become a more well-rounded player," Anderson added. "And not necessarily just be an offensive guy. Offensively, he's gifted, but I think from a defensive standpoint, and we saw that on display. He had a big blocked shot last night that made a big difference in the game."

Harris believes Arkansas' program is in much better shape than it was two years ago when he was playing for Houston and had 13 points and 8 rebounds in a win over the Razorbacks in Little Rock.

"Size and depth," Harris said. "We've got more players than they had to play. They were going small a lot when we played them in Little Rock. With (6-10 freshmen) Bobby (Portis) and Moses (Kingsley) and them, and (6-8) Jacorey Williams, there's just way more size and athleticism."

Both teams just inked early recruiting classes with SMU adding Prime Prep point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, a top five player nationally that chose the Mustangs over Kentucky and Kansas among other suitors.

Arkansas added a trio of signees in North Little Rock point guard Anton Beard, Forrest City big man Trey Thompson and Arlington, Texas, Martin shooting guard Nick Babb, whose chose the Razorbacks over SMU.

All of those guys will get to play in next year's return game in Dallas as will Arkansas junior Keaton Miles, a Dallas native who is redshirting this season after transferring from West Virginia.

Anderson, who plans to continue to recruit the Dallas area, is happy the series - which Arkansas leads 94-59 - came together for the next two years.

"We've got a great base of Razorback fans in Dallas, Texas," Anderson said. "That's where one of the biggest Razorback Clubs is. So it will give our fans there an opportunity to see us play, and we have guys from that area. We want to continue to be strong there in terms of recruiting."

Alandise Harris, Mike Anderson

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