Arkansas Could Be Scary Team In SEC

FAYETTEVILLE -- Since it's Halloween, it's a safe bet no one seeing Dracula and Darth Vader driving down Dickson Street tonight in a Dodge pickup truck will give it a second thought.

So, why would anyone be scared to say they finally think this up-and-coming Arkansas basketball team might actually return to the promised land (aka the NCAA Tournament)?

Not even Moses would split hairs, much less the Red Sea, over this issue.

Thou shall not ...

While others were setting clocks back early Sunday a.m., fourth-year Arkansas coach Stan Heath was trying to get his latest team to spring forward.

In reality, time is one's best friend, and another's worst enemy.

Well, Heath thinks it's high time to erase the ghosts of recent Arkansas basketball past.

It's a past which includes a 9-19 season, a 12-16 season, and an 18-12 season with a possible and tasty National Invitation Tournament (NIT) offer on the postseason table.

Sorry, not that hungry!

Yeah buddy, it's time to dance in the "Big Dance" which translates into the NCAA Tournament.

Hey, that ain't happened since 2001.

Most Razorbacks fans can remember when it did.


It was on CBS.

Of course, for Arkansas fans, it ended when Georgetown guard Nataniel Burton, a right-handed player, used to his left hand to sink a layup shot off the glass at the buzzer -- that buzzer didn't work at halftime, remember? -- in front of Brandon Dean to give his team a 63-61 win on that frightful Friday night of March 15, 2001, in Boise, Ida., in the NCAA Western Regional.

By the way, who is Nathaniel Burton?

In 2001, Razorbacks fans found out the hard way.

Settle down now! Simmer down now!

That season wasn't as bad as watching a celebrity boxing match between cosmetically altered Tonya Harding and Paula Jones, whose Karl Malden nose needed some cosmetic surgery itself.

Just kidding. Just following the Halloween theme.

Simmer down now!

No, what's really scary about this Arkansas basketball team is it really does have a darn good chance of scarring the long-legged pants off of many opponents.


Or at least that's what it wants you to believe. It actually could be true because, after all, it has the Southeastern Conference's preseason Player of the Year on it's roster.

It has more depth than Donald Trump's high pockets, and it has more talent than it has had in three previous calendars.

"I like my team," Heath said. "I feel good about this year."

Why shouldn't he?

Let's start with Ronnie Brewer, a 6-foot-7 junior guard from Fayetteville, who most think is the best player in the SEC.

Yeah, that's a good start.

For good measure, toss in 6-4 senior guard Jonathon  Modica, 6-10 sophomore forwards Darian Townes and Vincent Hunter -- he missed all of last year with an injured right shoulder -- alone with 6-8 second-year hoss Charles Thomas, and 6-1 seasoned senior guard Eric  Ferguson, and look-what-they've-got here, 6-7 redshirt sophomore 3-point sniper Preston Cranford.

Oh, sorry.

Forgot to mention 7-0, 248-pound shot blocker Steven Hill from Branson, Mo., who's learned the glass can be used for scoring, too.

Oh yeah, this cat could be a catalyst inside.

Then there's point guards Dontell Jefferson, a senior from Lithona, Ga. --isn't that a country in Russia? -- and Sean McCurdy, a pure freshman from Westport, Conn., with an accent (oh yeah, he's got one) on the Connecticut part.

And ...

Finally, there's sophomore walk-on Sammy Munsey -- if his last name was spelled Muncie and he was from Indiana (home of Ball State) instead of Little Rock, things might be different -- and peach-fuzzed face freshman Cyrus McGowan from Meridian, Miss.

Transfers Gary Irvin (Mississippi State) and Luke Allen, formerly of Wilmont (Calif.) College -- not pictured -- aren't eligible this season.

In summation ...

In less than five years, we've gone from "40 Minutes of Hell" to "40 Minutes of Help."

And Stan Heath certainly has plenty of it.

So, in honor of Halloween, that's kind of scary.

But it's a safe bet, no one seeing a mortician and a mummy driving down Dickson Street tonight in a Mazda will give it a second thought.

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