Evans Eager To Help At Arkansas
"Nolan was very, very complimentary of the University of Arkansas," Evans told a gathering of media members at Bud Walton Arena. "He said, 'Rob, I have nothing but great things to say about Arkansas. I stayed here.'" Evans and Richardson have been friends for many years, and coached against each other when Evans was at Ole Miss and Richardson was at Arkansas. Richardson was fired at Arkansas in 2002 after a 17-year tenure that included a national championship in 1994. Evans, following a head coaching stint at Arizona State, sat out last season after turning down Pelphrey's offer to assist him at South Alabama. "Nolan told me, 'This is not about Nolan Richardson. It's about what you can do to help Arkansas,'" Evans said. "I wanted to make sure he was comfortable with it. Hopefully he can come to some of our games." Evans played in Richardson's golf tournaments for years, both at Pinnacle in Rogers and at El Paso, Texas, but said he was unable to take part at El Paso this year because he was attending a funeral in Lubbock, Texas, of an 11-year-old child of one of his former players. Evans, 60, said he had considered coaching with Pelphrey last year but wanted to take some of the year to travel with his wife. Evans also did some TV color commentary in the Mountain West Conference. "When John called me again this year, I thought he was going to ask me about other coaches," Evans said. "But he was calling for me." At Ole Miss, Evans' teams were known for their hard-nosed defense. "I think this (Arkansas job) will work out great," he said. "I have a real comfort level with John, and he with me. I hope I have some experience to add to him. I'll tell John what I think he needs to hear." Evans has already served in a disciplinary capacity, in the course of talking with some of the players on a daily basis. "I saw Patrick Beverley at 6 o'clock this morning (Wednesday)," Evans said. "We just needed to chat a little bit and make sure we're all on the same page." Evans downplayed a recent comment by one of Arkansas' assistants that the Razorbacks were the worst-conditioned team that assistant had seen. "This time of year all kids are poorly conditioned," Evans joked. "A coaching change can make it difficult. But Arkansas made it to the NCAA Tournament the last two years, and you don't do that by not being in shape." Asked about Hogs 7-foot center Steven Hill, Evans said, "He's a tremendously talented kid. He's huge, and runs the floor well. I think he'll get more opportunities to score." Evans, who had success in recruiting Arkansas-grown players to Ole Miss, indicated he didn't think that trend would continue. "That's not gonna happen," Evans said. "We need to make sure if there's a kid in our state who can help Arkansas, we need to zero in on him. I did find (while at Ole Miss) that those kids grew up wanting to be Hogs. I hope that's still the case."
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