New University of Arkansas basketball coach John Pelphrey clearly won his press conference on Monday.
In fact, he could have just shown up and put on the Razorback hat and done the Hog Call right – both things he did correctly I might add – and put on a better performance than the uncomfortable and seemingly overwhelmed Dana Altman did last Monday.
But Pelphrey, 44-19 in his last two seasons at South Alabama, trotted out not only his knowledge of Razorback lore, but an energy and excitement that not only had his new players excited and no doubt those fans watching at home on TV.
It's also why he will do a great job in the living rooms of prospects now that he has the UA to recruit to according to Scout.com national analyst Dave Telep.
"It's a great hire for Arkansas, a great hire when it comes to both coaching and recruiting," Telep said. "Not only does he have the bloodlines and coaching ability to succeed in the SEC and has worked and played under some great coaches, but he has the recruiting connections."
Pelphrey, a former Kentucky star as a player, worked and played for Eddie Sutton, played for Rick Pitino and Billy Dononvan (when he was a UK assistant) and was an assistant under Donovan for six years before taking over at South Alabama.
"He is a tireless worker and was at one point named the best recruiting assistant in the college ranks when he was at Florida," Telep said. "He is hungry, he is driven and he knows the people that can help him take Arkansas back to the next level and then get in the living room and lock up the talent."
Pelphrey, who mentioned he hoped to have his staff in place very soon, brought along former South Alabama assistant Tom Ostrom with him to the press conference.
Ostrom, who started as an assistant at Florida, will definitely be at Arkansas with Pelphrey.
"He was with me at South Alabama and also with me at Florida and I feel like he is the best in the country – and make no mistake about it – from a coaching and from a recruiting standpoint in the country," Pelphrey said. "I will assemble the rest of the staff as soon as possible. I have already had some discussions with people. We are going to move as fast as we can, but we are going to make sure we have the right people."
They will need to hit the road quickly recruiting seeing as how it appears the Razorbacks have at least two scholarship they can use this spring to go along with fall signee Nate Rakestraw of Springdale Har-Ber.
"Obviously we have a got couple of scholarships and there are some opportunities out there for us," Pelphrey said. " We are going to try and get involved and see how it goes."
There is also the matter of the seven or so scholarships for the 2008 class.
"One thing every guy asks is "can I play?" Pelphrey said. "We definitely have playing time to sell down the road. It is important right now for me that if we can to do a good job recruiting right now and add a couple of pieces because we are going to lose a large part of our nucleus after a year."
Pelphrey said he has a simple recruiting philosophy.
"Recruiting is something you have got to do every day," Pelphrey said. "Somebody told me it is like shaving in that if you don't do it every day than you look a little rough around the edges. I will be a whole lot better coach with the better players I have.
"Recruiting will be something we will try to get taken care of with this class and we will try to hit the ground running as well with the underclassman," Pelphrey said. "It will be a contstant act of recruiting."
Photos by Zac Lehr
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