Hogs Add Football Star to Hoops Squad

Nolan Richardson has plenty of bodies at basketball practice, but it may be tough to utilize all of them. After two more gridders joined the fray, Richardson kept just one.

Matt Jones and Jason Peters joined Nathan Ball to give Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson 17 players on his squad on Monday, but only Jones will get to stay. Richardson used Monday as a tryout and afterwards told Ball and Peters to return to football.

"I don't know how much they'll get to practice, much less play," Richardson said. "What some don't remember is that we needed Joe Dean (Davenport) when he came out from football. We only had 11 players then. This is a lot now, and I don't know if we'll be able to get them any time."

Richardson said he received notification from the football coaches earlier in the day that Jones and Peters had permission to come out for hoops.

"That's all I needed," Richardson said. "I wanted to make sure their coaches knew that they were going to be with us. We'll get them some conditioning, but it's going to be hard to get them much else for a bit.

"Our team is playing well right now. I like what I see as far as chemistry."

Richardson said Jones would be allowed to dress out with the team on Tuesday when the Hogs play host to Mississippi State. Jones wore jersey number two at practice on Monday.

"I played some two days ago," said Matt Jones. "That's about it. I think my shot is okay, but my conditioning for basketball might not be there."

"I know Matt can play," assistant Mike Anderson said. "I saw him play quite a bit in high school. But, it's going to be tough to get him enough practice time right now."

Interestingly, Jones, at 6-6 3/4, appeared to be one of the team's tallest players. He stood almost even with Mike Jones, listed at 6-9 on the UA roster.

"I'd say Mike is a hair taller," said Brad Dunn when asked about Matt's height. "But, you can tell that Matt is pretty tall."

Richardson said the Hogs main priority was to find a way to stop Mississippi State center Mario Austin when the Bulldogs visit Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday.

"He's a man who can dominate the paint," Richardson said. "We'll have to put two on them. If he catches the ball, we'll have to have help coming in a hurry.

"Our top priority is to rebound. That means we have to rebound with five. Some might think we won't be able to run if we send our guards to the board. That's not so. We'll run when our guards rebound it. What's happening is that teams are sending four and five to the boards on offense. If they do that, and we get the rebound, it ought to be a layup on the other end. We might still have the advantage as far as running.

"We have to rebound. That's the number one thing we have to do Tuesday night. And, we have to keep the other team off the line so much. And, we must limit our turnovers. If we do those three things, we have a good chance to win the game."


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