UA Hoops Update

Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath updates on several things involving his program, including beginning interviews for his open assistant coach job today with former Cleveland State head coach Mike Garland, a possible warm weather tournament early in the 2007-2008 season, bringing some top-notch foes to Fayetteville, Ronnie Brewer's future and possible good news on recruit Mike Washington.

Now that he has finished 2006 recruiting and gotten some possible good news regarding one prize recruit, University of Arkansas head basketball coach Stan Heath and his staff have turned their attention to other things.

Such as hiring another assistant coach, sizing up another possible warm weather tournament to play in early next season, bringing some top teams to Fayetteville while lining up some top-notch home and home series, getting the Razorbacks through finals and helping Ronnie Brewer in his assessment of the draft.

Former Cleveland State head coach and Michigan State assistant Mike Garland is in Fayetteville today and will likely be the first of several candidates interviewed to replace Ronny Thompson, now the new head coach at Ball State.

He joins current UA director of basketball operations Darren Sorenson, former Ole Miss and Arizona State assistant Russ Pennell and former Kansas State assistant Charles Baker as possible candidates.

"I've also got two more guys we'll just have to call mystery candidates right now," Heath said Wednesday. "It wouldn't do them any good to have their names out there right now. I'm just looking for the best guy whether it be someone who has ties to the South or our state and is more geared toward helping the development of our big players. I have no preconceived direction I am headed, I am just going to put that all together and come up with the best candidate."

Another candidate was thought to be former Eastern Michigan coach Milton Barnes, who has also been a head coach of the Harlem Globetrotters and is now in the NBA.

"I really like Milton Barnes and think he is a great coach, but right now is just not the right time for him to make a move," Heath said. "He is involved with the NBA and is going to continue to try and move up there."

Garland and Heath were both assistants for Tom Izzo at Michigan State while Sorenson has been with Heath since he arrived at Arkansas in some capacity or another.

"Certainly there is the idea of moving Darren up and he is handling a lot of stuff right now while we are proceeding with our search," Heath said. "That is certainly a viable option."

As is a possible early season tournament, rumored to be in Orlando.

"I don't want to say just where until the contract is signed, but I will say we are certainly looking at another warm venue to play a tournament in this next season," Heath said. "It's all kind of coming together and like I said we'll get a contract and then let everybody know about it."

That tournament will join a 2006-2007 schedule that already includes known games at Missouri, at Texas and with Texas Tech in Little Rock. The Razorbacks have also lined up a series with Oklahoma that will begin in 2008 and 2009.

"The Texas and Oklahoma series will definitely be played in Fayetteville," Heath said. "We'll go to Texas first and then they will come here and the same way with going to Oklahoma and then them coming here."

The Razorbacks are currently finishing up classes with finals beginning on Saturday.

After that things should pick up for Brewer, the UA junior standout who has declared for the NBA draft but not signed with an agent.

"The NCAA has a rule that you can't go off campus for the individual workouts until you are done with school as long as you are enrolled in school," Heath said. "Ronnie has done everything right in this process and will just see how it pans out. We would love to have him back, but feel like we have recruited well and have a great future ahead of us even if he decides to stay in the draft."

There also appears to be some good news regarding Michael Washington, the 6-10, 235-pound from Genesis One Christian Academy in Mendenhall, Miss.

Sources indicate that his last ACT score improved enough to make him eligible for next season with his last hurdle being any action the NCAA may decide against players currently at unaccredited prep schools.

"I can't go into too many details on that, but I can say we have always felt real good about Michael being here and feel really good about that now," Heath said. "I think everything in our program is headed in the right direction."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories