UA's Heath talks about visit with Big Al

Arkansas head coach Stan Heath talks about his Friday visit with Razorback basketball signee Al Jefferson and other topics during a press conference on Monday afternoon.

Arkansas head coach Stan Heath had a press conference on Monday afternoon and discussed his visit with signee Al Jefferson last Friday as well as other topics.

Part of this is stuff I put on the board on Saturday night.

Some highlights:

• Coach Heath said Al is stressed out and still confused on exactly what he wants to do. Would like to get it over with quickly, but won't because the process needs to play its way out.

"Al does not know what he wants to do," Heath said. "I think it is evident that if he had he would have made a decision by now. I do expect him to some time in the near future to make some announcements concerning what his plans on. When exactly I don't know."

• There has been speculation that Jefferson will announce a decision this weekend on the SEC-TV television show. Jefferson did not tell Heath that.

If he does, it seems sure to be the "I'm putting my name in and not signing with an agent" announcement that he has already made to the Arkansas beat writers.

"I'll respect his wishes to address that when he is ready," Heath said.

• The biggest proof that Al is still highly considering Arkansas and not made a decision one way or the other is the fact that Al is still studying for the ACT test and will take it again on June 12th.

He has to register and pay for it by May 7th according to the ACT site.

While he apparently does not have the score yet if he is still taking it, Coach Heath expects him to have it whether he comes to Arkansas or not.

"Whether he does or doesn't come to Arkansas, I think he has a good chance of reaching his scores regardless of that decision," Heath said.

"...Unless all of a sudden he starts to go the other way and quits ging to school. When kids in this situation continue to go to school and continue to work, those are positive signs."

• Heath and Jefferson spent about an hour together on Friday.

"It wasn't a trip to go down there and say, 'Hey, what are you going to do,"' Heath said. "But seeing where is head was and what his thoughts were was a concern."

The coach did not put the hardsell on Jefferson because it would not be in his best interest.

"I'm not in a power situation to say this is what you are going to do," Heath said. "Mine is simply to give him some direction and some thoughts and let him use the information to do whatever he wants to do with it.

"I want to get our team prepared with guys who are definitely on board for next season and help Al through this process," Heath continued. "If he jumps on board and says this is exactly what I am doing, then he'll be a part of it. While he is kind of in between I want to help him with the process, but I don't want to create too much stress or a rush for him or for us."

• Both Heath and Jefferson were very upset with Greg Doyel, a writer who Heath says took a couple of unrelated quotes and made it seem as if Jefferson was stringing Arkansas along.

Here's what Doyel wrote for CBS

Asked why he should go to Arkansas, Jefferson laughed and said, "That's funny."

"They're like, 'Come one year and be a lottery pick next year,' and you can't get an education in one year." Heath fumed.

"There has been a lot of specualation from some very unreliable sources such as Greg Doyel that you guys should not rely upon," Heath said.

Later Heath said "that was so much of a misleading quote. Al gets asked this question all the time - 'Hey, Al, Arkansas is struggling. Why would you want to go there?' He gets upset and says "that's funny". Like why do you ask me some stupid question like that.'"

"Then by the time the guys starts talking about what are people saying? Kids read the internet and (Al) says 'they are saying like hey come here for a year.'"

Heath stressed what his coaching staff has done.

"That is not anything a coach on our staff has said to Al Jefferson," Heath said. "For him (Doyel) to quote it in that manner and make it seem like it was funny to go to school was totally misleading and a very inaccurate source."

• Jefferson can attend individual workouts, but will have to pay his own way because he has no intention of signing with an agent.

He can go to the NBA pre-draft camp June 8-11 without being penalized regarding his college eligibility.

As far as guaging exactly where he will be drafted, Jefferson can go a few ways according to Heath.

"There is a lot options," Heath said. "There is do nothing. There is to work out for teams, but he would have to finance his own way. He could go possibly to Chicago (for the NBA pre-draft camp)."

• The UA coach would love for Jefferson to come to Fayetteville and play for the Razorbacks, but feels good about next year one way or the other.

• Steven Hill is 7-0, 240 and has been driving down from Branson about once a week playing in open gym with his future teammates.

• Hill will be going to Pete Newell's Big Man Camp in Las Vegas in early August.

• Is very enamored with 6-10, 235-pound signee Darian Townes, who Heath says is better skill wise after a year at Hargrave than he was when Arkansas signed him.

• Heath went to see all his signed recruits - and Marcus Monk - except for Charles Thomas, who was at his all-star game.

He will go this week to see Thomas, who had 14 points in the Derby Classic Saturday night in Louisville.

• Arkansas may have to play a nonconference game in Jan or Feb. because of the traveling time that there will be with the season-opening Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

• There will be no Big 12-SEC challenge this season.

• Heath enjoyed his weekend recruiting at the Kingwood Classic, where he saw a ton of recruits this weekend.

Proud of the fact that he and Indiana head coach Mike Davis were the last two coaches to leave.

Says he and his staff will now narrow down their list and focus now that they have been on the road and seen recruits the past three weekends.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories