University of Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey had a press conference on Thursday to wrap up the season and look forward to the future.
He went over a ton of stuff that we will try to cover in several stories over the next few days, but here's a few tidbits:
• He noted how much he loved the effort he got from the seniors, talked about how all had their moments, all contributed and all made a difference on and off the court.
• Gave Stan Heath credit for getting the team together and getting them to a point that he could get them to the level they made it to this season.
• When asked about possible departures, he said there was basically nothing new on that, but that rosters turned over on occasion.
• In that regard, lavished praise on Marcus Britt and talked about what a great future he will have here because he is an above average SEC defender and he expects his offense to come along to close the gap between him and the others.
• No surprise that he talked about how much he loves Michael Sanchez - the person and the player. He said he is not saying Mike will definitely be an all-league player, but that he certainly has the mentality, skills and heart to be so.
Expects big things from him next season.
• Talked about how Michael Washington had showed things at times and now had to just get more consistent and put in the work this summer. Brought up he is the only frontcourt player who has actually bounced a ball in a game here. Expects him to step out of the senior frontcourt players' shadows now that they will be out the door.
• He goes into next season with the goal of making the NCAA Tournament. Says that will always be the goal, no matter who he has coming back.
• Arkansas officially has one scholarship available and Pelphrey thinks there is a good chance that will be filled. (Of course, ya'll know I expect him to sign two this spring.)
• As far as scheduling, expects to be in an exempt tournament, but no idea which one as of yet.
• Will play Baylor in North Little Rock, Oklahoma and Texas in Fayetteville, will play at Missouri State (to open its new arena).
* Wants to challenge youthful team while also getting them some confidence.
• Arkansas and Memphis have talked about playing, but John (Calipari) doesn't want to come here and wants to have it at a neutral site. Pelphrey says that he has mixed feelings on both.
• Expects Patrick Beverley to have a great season next year as a junior. Sees no reason that he couldn't if he works hard in the offseason. Noted that he has to become a big leader.
• Gushed about how Patrick Beverley, Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke might be able to work with each other because of how their own skills will help benefit the others.
• Thinks Daniel Payne could be a really big help and said he needs to get in here and work hard and be ready to go right away. Talked about how he can play four positions and guard four positions.
• Expects good things from both Andre Clark and Brandon Moore and how Clark is ahead offensively and Moore defensively, but expects both to fill out their games.
• Believes next year's team will be able to play the more up-tempo style he wants and definitely be able to play more man-to-man (in both fullcourt and halfcourt settings) than this season's team did.
• Gave Stefan Welsh a lot of credit for trying to play on Sunday while hurt against North Carolina. He had to work out really hard twice before the game to get "lathered" up so he would have it warm enough to give it a shot. Also praised UA trainer Dave England for his work in getting Welsh to the point he could play, but said you could tell he just didn't have the bounce he needed.
That's A Wrap
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