Hogs Return To Court Today

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Stan Heath grinned and then really looked like he wanted to chuckle when the subject was broached.

Coach, who picked the rosters for the Red-White game?

"You want me to be honest about it?" Heath said. "I was on my way to the airport and Robby (Edwards, Arkansas basketball sports information director) said, 'Hey coach, we need the Red-White rosters,' and I spit out five names in white and five names in red and I put a couple of more guys on each team."

There you go.

That's what you'll see at 4:05 p.m. today in this annual basketball game in Bud Walton Arena. A mix of talent.

What you won't see is 7-foot Steven Hill playing with 6-10 Darian Townes on the same team.

Why?

"I just didn't want to do it in this exhibition," Heath said. "I just think it would have been a matchup problem both ways. Those guys guarding quicker players. Those smaller guys guarding those big guys.

"So, I deliberately switched those guys to make sure they weren't on the same team."

Actually, the roster is a no-brainer.

"We've been pretty much playing those guys in practice against each other," Heath said. "We had a couple of switches here and there."

Those rosters are:

Red Team: Sammy Munsey; Dontell Jefferson; Ronnie Brewer; Sean McCurdy; Charles Thomas; Jonathon Modica; and Hill.

White Team: Cyrus McGowan; Townes; Gary Ervin; Luke Allen; Eric Ferguson; Preston Cranford; and Vincent Hunter.

Ervin is a transfer from Mississippi State, while Allen transferred from Westmont (Calif.) College.

"The two teams are evenly matched," Heath said. "I also put Eric Ferguson and Gary Ervin on the same team so I can see how Dontell Jefferson and Sean McCurdy handle the speed of those guys with the lights on."

Brewer, a 6-foot-7 junior from Fayetteville is the marquee player this season. On Wednesday he was named the preseason Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

"I think that shows where he started and where he's come from," Heath said. "He wasn't a McDonald's All-America, or anything like that, coming out of high school. But now you're looking at a guy who's one of the premier players in our league and one of the premier players in the country.

"I would like for him, late in games, to be the guy we look at. I want him to put us in position to make a play, whether it's scoring, passing or making a big stop.

"I want him to take more control."

Heath, too, said he is impressed with the work of Thomas, a 6-8 sophomore forward, and Hunter, his 6-10 sophomore counterpart, who missed all of last year with a right shoulder injury.

"Those are probably the two most under-appreciated players on our team," Heath said. "Both are doing very well.

"Vince provides offensive spacing because he can shoot. Charles is stronger. He can hurt some people. He's very physical and has been a dominant rebounder. He can consistently hit the 15-foot shot and has been taking the ball to the basket.

"Both are capable of scoring in double figures, getting rebounds and being pressure-relief players.

"They are both valuable and versatile."

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