Commentary: Boudreaux Good Fit

Byron Boudreaux was Stan Heath's choice to complete his coaching staff for the Arkansas basketball team. Boudreaux will be the No. 1 assistant for Heath. He's a former Nolan Richardson recruit at Tulsa and veteran Division I coach.

The recruiting is done for the current signing period, so the last major move by Stan Heath was the completion of his coaching staff with the hiring of former Washington aide Byron Boudreaux. It looks like a perfect fit for Heath, from this writer's view. Here's why:

First, Boudreaux was a Nolan Richardson recruit at Tulsa. He played for Nolan for two years, if my memory serves me right. Then, he played his final two years at Tulsa under J. D. Barnett. He was the point guard for TU's Missouri Valley title team under Barnett. He was a guy that came to Tulsa to play uptempo and had to learn a new system, with set plays. He ran the set plays to perfection for Barnett. And, it was a complicated, complex system. He was always respectful and considered Nolan a friend, and was always excited to see his old coach. I know that Barnett was hard on Byron and he often called Nolan to check on him during his early days at Arkansas when his old coach was struggling. I do know that Byron was close to Yvonne Richardson and was one of the Richardson's favorites. It is interesting that Heath has added a coach with a Richardson connection.

I covered Byron's TU career all four years during my time at the Tulsa World. One of my favorite interviews ever was with Byron before the Valley tournament his senior year. He told me a lot of things about his four years at TU. The story ran about 100 inches in the Tulsa World during a time when that paper rarely carried anything of that length. The next time I saw Byron he was an assistant at Queen's College in Charlotte, N. C., when Arkansas won the national title there in '94. I've watched as he moved up the coaching ladder, lately as an assistant at Washington.

Byron Boudreaux is an articulate, highly intelligent, sharp person. He fit in well in the academic environment at the University of Tulsa ... a school that sometimes is a hard fit for athletes. I look forward to seeing him at the University of Arkansas. He is a good hire for Stan Heath, IMO.

As a player, Byron was a coach on the floor. He took charges, rarely committed turnovers and scored by taking high percentage shots after steals or on layups after set plays. He could shoot from the perimeter, but rarely did. He would hit the clutch basket if someone needed to step up, but usually tried to involve his teammates as the point guard. He was an excellent defensive player and played extremely hard and smart.

I give Stan Heath great marks for his first few weeks on the job. He salvaged a solid recruiting year with the additions of guards Eric Ferguson and Kendrick Davis gives Heath the backcourt help he so badly needed with Chuck Tatum's knee injury and the graduation of T. J. Cleveland, Brandon Dean, Jannero Pargo and Teddy Gipson. Heath has been a popular speaker on the Razorback Club spring banquet circuit, too, packing the house at every stop and sending everyone away happy. 


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