Ervin Transfers To Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE -- While Arkansas coach Stan Heath's search for an assistant to replace recently departed coach Bill Herrion continued Monday, the Razorbacks finally secured their point guard of the future.

Arkansas announced that Gary Ervin transferred from Mississippi State, enrolled at the university and began attending summer school classes Monday. Ervin, who averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 assists as a sophomore in 2004-2005, must sit out Arkansas' 2005-2006 season, but will have two years of eligibility remaining.

"He is an experienced, proven player," Heath said in a statement released by the university. "His toughness, speed and heart make him really attractive. Those are things you can't coach or put a measuring stick on.

"He has to sit out a year, but it will give him time to get familiar with our players and our program and he will be a valuable asset."

In Ervin, the Razorbacks add an experienced player who started 33 of 34 games as a sophomore and helped the Bulldogs reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native shot 38.3 percent (88 of 230) from the field and 23.3 percent (10 of 43) from 3-point range.

Ervin had been shopping for schools after his sophomore season ended and Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury announced he and the point guard had decided to amicably split ways in May. Before that, Ervin already had been released from his scholarship and visited Arkansas on April 30. He also visited Texas-El Paso, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Marquette before deciding on the Razorbacks.

"We feel like it's a win-win situation," Heath said. "Gary saw something he wants to be a part of. He's been to the NCAA Tournament and has leadership qualities and he assures us of having an experienced guard going into the future after this season."

Ervin was named the Southeastern Conference's best penetrator by Street & Smith's magazine, the SEC's players on the rise by The Sporting News and one of the top 10 breakout players in the nation by FOXSports.com before his sophomore season. But Ervin didn't meet most of those expectations last season and finished third in the SEC in assists and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58 to 1).

He struck a blow to Arkansas' hopes last February when his 3-pointer gave Mississippi State a 56-52 lead with 1:09 left in its 57-55 win in Fayetteville. It was the start of a three-game slide that wiped out Arkansas' NCAA Tournament hopes and led to its decision to decline a bid in the National Invitation Tournament.

"The addition of Gary addresses our future needs at the guard position," Heath said. "He had a lot of interest in Arkansas. He likes our fans and our style of play and he thinks he can mesh with our younger players and help us reach the next level."

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