Weems Receives Honor, Shakes Off Mini-Slump

So good for so long this Southeastern Conference season, Arkansas senior Sonny Weems finally struggled last week. Twelve points in two games, 5-for-23 from the floor and 2-for-9 from 3-point range — statistically, his worst back-to-back performances this season.

The SEC's coaches didn't care, though, and still honored him. Weems was named to the first-team All-SEC squad on Tuesday by the conference's coaches, one of nine players to earn that distinction.

"It's an honor to be mentioned with those guys," Weems said. "It's a real blessing for me."

While he was thrilled with the honor, which he found out about from a reporter, Weems did face questions about his recent mini-slump. Weems doesn't seem fazed as Arkansas prepares for its quarterfinal game Friday in the SEC Tournament. After all, he did start the season slowly, missing his first 14 attempts from beyond the arc.

He did score in double figures in only four of Arkansas' first eight games, and he recovered then to post double-figure point totals in his next 19 games. Weems said he was merely misfiring on shots he has connected on all season.

Asked if he had lost any confidence, Weems fired back confidently, almost defiantly.

"Not at all," Weems said. "I've been in the gym the past few nights shooting."

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said he wasn't concerned about Weems. He thought Weems "pressed a bit" in the second half against Auburn, but he didn't think "they were horrible shots." And he believes Weems will bounce back quickly because of his mental toughness.

As the season has progressed, Pelphrey has marveled at Weems' ability to receive coaching and accept constructive criticism. Weems simply listens, looks back at Pelphrey and says, "Yes, sir," anytime any coach throws in his opinion. That attitude should translate to weathering a brief spell of poor shooting, Pelphrey said.

"I have respect for him because nothing that ever happens to Sonny gets him to a breaking point," Pelphrey said. "You're not going to see Sonny Weems snap. You're not going to see him lose his mind. He's got that toughness, because most of us get to a boiling point, and we break something. Not Sonny."

It's not just his coaches who offer advice to Weems. He doesn't hear often from senior teammate Gary Ervin, but Arkansas' point guard does find Weems' ear when his shots are being too contested. Pelphrey laughs about Weems spoiling the Razorbacks by making many tough shots. When those shots don't fall consistently, Ervin will whisper to Weems when he gets the chance.

Weems welcomes the input.

"At some points, I come to him during the game and tell him that he might be forcing the issue or taking too tough of shots," Ervin said. "We know the caliber of player he is, and when he's open, he knocks them down at a high percentage. The more shots he takes that aren't contested, the more he makes.

"I just want to get him in his comfort zone."

Like he was in for 19 straight games.


Age: 21.

Class: Senior.

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 203 pounds.

Hometown: West Memphis.

Junior College: Arkansas-Fort Smith.

Notables: Averaged 17.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists and shot 42.6 percent from 3-point range during Southeastern Conference play. ... Named to the 2007 SEC Tournament all-tournament team. ... Played on championship teams at West Memphis High (state title) and Arkansas-Fort Smith (junior college national title).

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