Hogs Look To Overachieve

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas men's basketball coach John Pelphrey understands his team needs to overachieve in order to be successful this season. After five practices in three days, he's optimistic the Razorbacks can do that.

"We have a chance to overachieve, and certainly this basketball team needs to overachieve," Pelphrey said Tuesday. "We're not going to roll out there and get by on talent."

The Hogs are preparing this week for the Red-White game, set for Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena. Doors open at 5:30 and the women's game will preceed the men's clash.

The Razorbacks return five players from last year's team — which lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament — but only three lettermen. Instead, Arkansas' 11-man roster includes six newcomers and five freshmen.

Pelphrey praised the players' attitude, particularly during the two practices on Sunday. Attitude is a key for the Hogs, Pelphrey said.

"If we repeat that, where our attitude stays in the right place, we can be coachable ... we work hard, then we've got a chance."

Holdovers like juniors Michael Washington and Stefan Welsh have come back in great shape, Pelphrey said. But conditioning has been an issue for Montrell McDonald, a 6-foot-5 junior college transfer from Cowley County College and Jason Henry, a 6-foot-6 freshman from West Memphis by way of Harmony Prep in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"Jason has probably never been in an environment where he's had to work this hard," Pelphrey said. "...I think he hurt in places he never dreamed he had after two days of being here.

"They (McDonald and Henry) weren't able to be here for the summer at all, so they came in here in the fall behind the eight-ball a little bit," Pelphrey said. "Only in the last 10 days to two weeks have they been in the same ballpark with the rest of the team."

The teams have not yet been set for the exhibition Friday. Pelphrey, who heads off to Birmingham, Ala. for SEC Media Days today and Thursday, said the game won't likely be a full 40 minutes, and the teams may be swapped even during the game.

There's one thing about the Red-White Game that he was sure of Tuesday. The 6-foot-7 Pelphrey, who played some in last year's exhibition, said that won't happen this year.

"There won't be any suspensions this week," Pelphrey said. "I'm not playing. Free week this week. If you're going to screw up, this will be the week to do it."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories