Beverley, Weems Interested In Up-Tempo Coach

FAYETTEVILLE — Most of the time, Sonny Weems avoids the sports page of the newspaper. He stays away from sports-talk radio. He ignores the 10 o'clock news.

He usually doesn't want any part of the media's reporting on Arkansas basketball. But this week, that all changed.

For nearly five days now, Weems and his Razorback teammates have been without a head coach. And, unlike most days of the year, Weems finds himself making time for reading, watching and listening to Arkansas basketball coverage.

"I'm paying attention a lot right now," Weems said Friday afternoon. "I'm not letting it stress me out or anything, but I'm hoping we get a coach pretty soon."

As the junior forward spoke with The Morning News, Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles met with candidates in Atlanta, according to two sources close to the basketball program. Several calls seeking comment from Broyles went unreturned Friday.

One source said that some of the names of the coaches who indicated interest to Broyles were not surprising but that some were, such as Illinois' Bruce Weber.

By staying quiet and working in Atlanta, Broyles has been able to avoid commenting on any particular candidates. The source said Broyles' top choices were still Kansas' Bill Self and Southern California's Tim Floyd, but those coaches have adamantly stated their pleasure in their current positions.

Texas A&M's Billy Gillispie released a statement Friday after agreeing to a contract extension that would pay him $1.75 million per year through 2015.

He is expected to hold out for a potential offer from Kentucky. While he has not technically said, "No," to Arkansas, the chances of him landing in Fayetteville now appear highly improbable.

Beyond that, a couple handful of coaches are possibilities.

Regardless of the choice, Weems said he was hoped for a coach who would allow him to play to his strengths, to his above-average athleticism.

"I just want to get up and down the court," Weems said. "I don't want to play a slow game. Honestly, I really wanted Gillispie."

Arkansas freshman Patrick Beverley, who has stated he could transfer depending on the coach selected, showed up Friday at Arkansas' spring football practice.

He spoke with reporters and then joked with Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt. Nutt congratulated Beverley on his season.

"The biggest thing for me right now is to just focus on my books, the weights, getting stronger and getting better as a person and as a player on the basketball court," Beverley said.

As far as a particular coach, Beverley echoed something Weems talked about. Both players wanted someone who wouldn't restrict them into a certain type of system.

"I don't want to be in a system where I'm just a concealed basketball player, you know, where I'm just a robot," Beverley said. "Coach (Stan) Heath allowed me to play my type of game, and that's what I'm looking for in the next coach, whoever we get.

"(I want) for him to continue to allow me to play the type of game that I've been playing all season long."

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