Pelphrey Jumping Right Into Busy Period

FAYETTEVILLE -- He has to form relationships with Arkansas' current basketball players. He has to hire assistant coaches. He has to put an academic foundation in place. He has to recruit new Razorbacks.

And, he has to relocate his family from Mobile, Ala. Time is not on John Pelphrey's side, three days into his tenure as the new basketball coach at Arkansas. "This is obviously a busy time of year," Pelphrey said. "I've been doing quite a bit these last few days. It is going to take some time, but I'm looking forward to getting some of these things knocked out of the way." Despite his frantic schedule, Pelphrey took a few minutes out of his day Thursday to brief the media on a variety of topics. Wearing a vest with a Razorback on it, Pelphrey revealed his plans for the future in several areas. First, Pelphrey discussed his future staff. He said that he'd like to complete his staff as quickly as possible but that he refused to rush the process. He has brought two assistants along from South Alabama. Tom Ostrom will be an assistant coach in Fayetteville and Matt Figger will be the program's director of basketball operations. As for the other two positions, Pelphrey is still looking at resumes and speaking to candidates. "Obviously, there are a couple of spots where I'm talking to folks and evaluating what is best for our coaching staff and what is best for our program," Pelphrey said. The 38-year-old native of Paintsville, Ky., has decided, though, that none of the assistant coaches from Stan Heath's staff would join him. Dan Hipsher has accepted a position on Heath's staff, and Oronde Taliaferro is mulling a similar offer. Some have speculated that Glynn Cyprien would be a serious candidate for Pelphrey's staff, but Pelphrey revealed a discussion he had with Cyprien. "I have a relationship with Coach Cyprien," Pelphrey said. "We have spoken. Right now I'm heading in a different direction in terms of retaining anybody from the previous staff. It's my understanding those guys all have some opportunities, as well." Beyond that issue, Pelphrey said he would attack recruiting immediately. The Razorback have at least two scholarships to use for this upcoming class, in addition to signee Nate Rakestraw of Springdale Har-Ber. Pelphrey said his staff wouldn't panic, though, wouldn't issue a scholarship just for the sake of filling a vacant spot this late in the process. "We are certainly going to be recruiting and exploring every opportunity to see what we have got out there, to see if there is anybody we can add to the mix to our basketball team next year that can help us," Pelphrey said. "But at the same token, we are just not going to give scholarships away. They're too valuable." As far as on-court dealings go, Pelphrey said he'd like to use individual workouts as a way to begin instilling more mental and physical toughness. He said an increased pride in taking care of the basketball would result from the improvement in toughness. Pelphrey addressed this in response to a question about Arkansas' dismal road showings throughout the past decade. "I think the No. 1 thing is don't turn it over," Pelphrey said. "It gets deeper after that. ... For the most part, games get decided under the five-minute mark. There has to be a level of toughness that it requires to get it done. There's got to be an understanding of when that moment in time comes in the game or where the game is decided."

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