Most of the Razorbacks took advantage of the opportunity for a new experience and came away loving the warm blue-green water and the abundance of colorful wildlife in the Caribbean.
"It was a wonderful time," said junior Eric Ferguson. "It was a real good feeling to get a chance to do that. It was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We might not ever come back here again, so it was a good time."
The boat pulled up to the Ritz-Carlton around 10:30 a.m. and the Razorbacks took a three-hour tour around St. Thomas, floating between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.
Freshman Charles Thomas was all smiles describing his day.
"It was real nice out there," he said. "It was fun. I've never been snorkeling, but I'll go again if I can. It was really nice out there."
Thomas said he wasn't nervous about getting in the water until the guide gave them a few warnings about what to avoid, including the prickly sea urchins with backward pointing hooks on their spikes.
"At first I was cool, but then the dude said something about the sea urchins that stick to you and are impossible to get out," he said. "That was about the first thing I looked for when I got down there."
Thomas is no marine biologist, but he could name off a few of the creatures he saw.
"I don't know any of those fish," he said, laughing. "All I saw that I know was a clownfish and a squid. The rest, I don't know.
"It was real relaxing to just sit back and let the water take you."
The Paradise Jam has been a good bonding experience for an already tight-knit team, Ferguson said.
The team enjoyed its fun, but playing for a title -- not in the water -- is why Arkansas is here.
"It makes our bond even stronger being around each other even more than what we've been and having fun together," he said. "Since we've been (at Arkansas), we've never played in a tournament with a chance to win a championship.
"Hopefully we can get this championship so our team will work even harder knowing what winning a championship feels like."
The university at Troy, Ala., made a big deal about changing its name from Troy State to the simpler Troy this season.
Apparently the uniform budget hasn't caught up to its name change.
The Trojans still sport uniforms and warm-ups reading Troy State with the Roman warrior's head logo and the letters "TSU".
NEAR HISTORIC NIGHT
Arkansas' 11 of 17 night from the 3-point line against Winthrop wasn't the best night the Razorbacks have ever had from outside, but it was close.
The 64.7 percentage ranks just behind the 66.7 percent posted against Western Carolina in 1999, when Arkansas hit 14 of 21 to win former coach Nolan Richardson's 500th game.
Ferguson led the way with 4 of 5 and Olu Famutimi connected on 3 of 4. Ronnie Brewer made 2 of 3 and Dontell Jefferson 2 of 5.
The Razorbacks' percentage could have been a little lower. Jonathon Modica missed a couple long jumpers with his toe on the deeper 3-point line being used in the early season tournaments.
Arkansas coach Stan Heath knows better than to expect that kind of number every night.
He noted Arkansas was 6 of 11 in the first half with several of those long misses helping keep Winthrop in the game. The Razorbacks took better 3s in the second half, hitting 5 of 6.
"You never know with 18- and 19-year-olds," Heath said. "The norm has been teams score more points because the game speeds up, not because teams shoot a higher percentage. We did get a feel for what they were doing and a lot of our shot in the second half were high percentage shots."
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