Ervin Spends Summer Studying NBA Guards

FAYETTEVILLE -- Two of the world's most talented point guards provided Arkansas point guard Gary Ervin with plenty of learning material this summer. Over and over again, Ervin popped in tapes, his eyes glued to his TV.

Ervin studied every move of the two NBA point guards, looking for ways to better himself for this season in first-year coach John Pelphrey's system.

"I looked at a lot of film of Tony Parker and Steve Nash," Ervin said. "I learned a lot about pick-and-rolls, because that's the type of style we're going to be playing in. I have to know when to penetrate, when to shoot the pull-up off the dribble and when to kick it out to my teammates.

"I just have to become a smarter basketball player."

Pelphrey agreed with Ervin's last thought. Ervin's erratic play last season cost the Razorbacks at times. He posted a team-high 169 assists. But he also committed a team-high 100 turnovers.

And in Pelphrey's up-tempo system, Ervin's coach said his point guard must learn to take care of the ball.

"Gary has a lot of experience," Pelphrey said. "There should be nothing that rattles him. He's a high-energy guy who can play on both ends, and he has the potential to be a high-assist guy. He also has the tendency to get the ball knocked out of his hands or to get knocked off balance.

"He has to be able to handle coaching. He doesn't have to be great. We need him to be consistently good. If he can do that, it will really help us."

Welsh At The Point

Pelphrey hasn't hidden his aspirations for sophomore guard Stefan Welsh, who will back up Ervin at the point guard position. Earlier this month, Pelphrey said he hoped Welsh would become Arkansas' most improved player this season.

The Razorbacks return only three guards -- Ervin and Beverley are the others -- and Pelphrey will call on Welsh to play both guard positions.

His development at point guard is a work in progress.

"He's giving tremendous effort, but he has to continue to learn and grow," Pelphrey said.

Welsh, a 6-foot-2 native of Newport News, Va., played shooting guard last season but said he feels comfortable at either spot.

"It's coming along," Welsh said. "Gary's still helping a lot. The transition has been going pretty smoothly. I always thought I'd end up playing point guard here quite a bit anyway. My teammates are helping me, and I'm just trying to do everything coach Pelphrey is asking me."

Time To Speak Up

Beverley's actions did the talking last season. He never stopped working -- at practice, during games, even during shoot-arounds and on off days. In earning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors, Beverley set a high standard for work ethic, yet he didn't feel the need to step up vocally.

This year will be different, Beverley said.

"Most definitely, I'll be talking more," Beverley said. "I feel like I'm in a teaching mode a lot now with the freshmen, and at the same time, I know it's important for me to be a leader in many ways this year."

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