New Sheriff in Town

UA head coach John Pelphrey announces that three of his best players will not play in Friday night's 7:05 p.m. Red-White game and hopes a lesson gets learned.

Because University of Arkansas basketball coach John Pelphrey doesn't play, neither will sophomores Michael Washington and Patrick Beverley or senior Gary Ervin.

Those three players will not participate in the University of Arkansas basketball team's Red-White scrimmage Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.

"Michael Washington will not play tomorrow night and it is a continuation of punishment for violation of team rules," Pelphrey said. "Also Patrick Beverley and Gary Ervin will not be participating tomorrow night and that is due more to my decision.

"I feel like those young men (Beverley and Ervin) are good kids and have been working hard, but I need more of an overachieving from them in other areas," Pelphrey added. "Those guys all like the responsibility and stuff that comes with being a very good player, but by the same token away from the court, in the classroom, some other things – I am not getting that same overachieving mentality I want to get."

It is the third time this pre-season that Pelphrey has dealt out some discipline since he was hired to replace Stan Heath.

He suspended Beverley, sophomore Stefan Welsh and freshman guard Marcus Britt for an exhibition game in Cancun and then Washington for the first practice.

"I feel like there is something there that needs to be corrected and if we can get done by missing this game, then I think it is going to help us down the road," Pelphrey added. "We are going to get it corrected whether it means missing the Red-White game or missing Georgia or whoever at some point down the road…This will be a one-game deal if we continue with our attitude and show some improvement."

Beverley, a pre-season All-SEC pick and who was announced as a candidate for the John Wooden Award on Thursday, said he wants to just take the punishment and move on.

"I am just looking at the bigger picture," Beverley said. "I am a very competitive guy so I want to be out there playing with my teammates, but we have a game in a week and I will just be ready for that and do what it takes to play then."

Pelphrey said he wanted to let the fans know ahead of time.

"I certainly wanted to make our fans aware," Pelphrey said. "If they were expecting to see a an-all league first team guy and obviously Gary has had some success and there are some Michael Washington fans out there – I wanted to let our fans know that because we are playing ourselves…I respect our fans."

Pelphrey noted he also hopes the other players get it.

"Hopefully this will make these young men better parts of our basketball team down the road,' Pelphrey said, "and some of our other guys will learn from their peers and not make those mistakes and go through it themselves."

Pelphrey has made it clear that he runs this ship.

"Nobody has playing time but me," Pelphrey said. "I think a part of me is here to represent Arkansas and win as many games as we possibly can, but I also think my job is to have an impact on these guy's lives individually. I know my coaches had that for me and I know I am committed to making all the tough decisions that are at the University of Arkansas that are in our best interests. I may not always make the right decision, but I am committed to that and committed to the individual.

"I believe these two guys right now could self-eliminate themselves if they continue their behavior," Pelphrey said. "That's a possibility, but I am going to step in right now and see if we can't learn some life lessons and get it done with a scrimmage game instead of something that is more important to all of us down the line, which is missing a real game. That doesn't need to happen. We should learn from this."

That means there will only be 10 healthy players for the Red-White game because freshman Nate Rakestraw is out with an injury.

"Obviously we will have 10 guys out there and we will show up and participate," Pelphrey said. "We will try and get a few things accomplished and probably work on a lot of different stuff, a lot of parts that we have got in so far and see how it goes. I am looking forward to doing it before our great Razorback fans."

He is hoping no other injuries occur.

"If somebody pulls a hang nail or something, you might want to do some background work on (UA coaches) Issac Brown, Matt Siverling and Tom Ostrom," Pelphrey said while laughing. "Those guys were really, really big basketball players back in the day and you should be able to google that really quickly and get their stats."

Pelphrey is not sure which five he will have on which team.

"We'll split them up, but we also might mix and match," Pelphrey said. "We'll see how it goes. We are going to get some work out of it anyway."

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