Hall Of Famer K.C. Jones Praises Brewer

FAYETTEVILLE -- That distinguished-looking man who did color commentary for the Hartford radio broadcast on Thursday night was Basketball Hall of Famer K.C. Jones, a former Boston Celtics player and coach.

Jones, who has been a resident of West Hartford, Conn., the past five years, played for the San Francisco Dons college team that won NCAA titles in 1955 and '56.

"Bill Russell and I played in 56 straight wins for San Francisco, and then they won four more without us for a total of 60," Jones said.

Jones made All-America as a senior, then joined Russell on the 1956 U.S. Olympic team that beat the Dons in an exhibition game and won a gold medal in Melbourne, Australia.

In nearly 50 years as an NBA player or coach, Jones was part of 1,700 victories and 12 NBA titles.

Also a piano bar musician of some renown, Jones planned to drop in at Willie D's on Dickson Street after Thursday's game.

He was asked his assessment of Arkansas guard Ronnie Brewer, who had 23 points and four steals against Hartford.

"It's great to have a 6-foot-7 guard who can fire the ball in from the top of the key and also handle it," Jones said. "If you play him tight, he can take you to the hoop. Magic (Johnson) was a 6-8 guard and Brewer is 6-7. He can put it on the floor and shoot the eyes out of the ball."

Jones, asked how Brewer might fare as a pro, said, "It depends on whether he goes in there and takes it as a learning process. But he's super. He can play a Kobe Bryant defensively, and Kobe's got to guard him."

Jones called Arkansas a "strong club."

"They can beat you on the 3-point line, and body you up defensively," he said.

Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles, who will turn 80 on Sunday, was given a surprise birthday party by his twin daughters Betsey and Linda last Saturday after Arkansas' 102-50 basketball win over Prairie View A&M.

"To keep me out of the house after the game, they told me the boys were assembling a Christmas present for me," Broyles said. "And they said if I saw a Catfish Hole catering truck outside the house, it was because we were having 15 guests over to eat.

"So I gave some friends a tour of our athletic facilities after the game, and when I got home there were 150 people there. I was shocked. I'd never really had a birthday party before, because my birthday is the day after Christmas."

On Feb. 3, Broyles will speak to a congressional committee about Alzheimer's disease -- the disease that claimed his wife Barbara this year.

"I'm going to work as hard as I can to educate people about the risk factors of this disease," Broyles said. "Four-and-a-half million Americans have it, and 4,000 more people get it each year."

Broyles watched Thursday's game from a media table, often hollering encouragement or corrections to UA players.

After Brewer scored seven of Arkansas' first 10 points before the first media timeout, Broyles observed, "Brewer is pretty good."

UA students in the "Trough" cheering section wore Santa Claus hats and substituted "Ho" for "Go Hogs Go" in one of the cheers. They also began singing Christmas carols while the Hawks shot free throws.

Paul Eells, Arkansas' veteran TV play-by-play man, had to charter a plane to get from Little Rock to Fayetteville on Thursday afternoon.

"That was the only way we could get here," Eells said. "We had an inch of ice in Little Rock (on Wednesday), and snow on top of that. It was so cold, nothing melted."

Former UA guard Pat Bradley, who did the color commentary alongside Eells on Thursday night, left by car from Little Rock on Wednesday.

"We were going four or five miles an hour on the Interstate," Bradley said. "It brought back memories of Beantown (Boston, Mass.). It was strange to see everyone so cautious, and still see cars in the ditches. But I liked the snow. It felt great to see a white Christmas again."

With 7 minutes, 45 seconds left in Thursday's game, eight players sat at the scorer's table, waiting to check in: five from Arkansas and three from Hartford.

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