California-Davis led until 10 seconds remained in its season-opening loss at Iowa State, and the Aggies blew a 24-point lead the next night against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
So it wasn't shocking that Arkansas coach John Pelphrey sounded serious Tuesday about his team's preparations, especially because of UC-Davis' Princeton-style offense and outside shooting ability.
"Our guys may be blown away with how hard they cut and how hard they drive," Pelphrey said. "It's kind of unconventional in that their frontcourt players are outstanding perimeter players. It will be a cerebral game from the defensive side and a big challenge."
Freshman guard Rotnei Clarke echoed his coach's worries.
"They know exactly what they're doing offensively," Clarke said. "It's going to challenge us. We can't fall asleep at any point. They'll cut backdoor and get a layup or find someone for an open 3."
UC-Davis was 9-22 last season under sixth-year coach Gary Stewart. But Pelphrey compared the state of Stewart's program to the time before his fourth season at South Alabama. The Jaguars had won only 10 games the year before, but Pelphrey said he knew they were about to break out.
He sees the same potential timing for the Aggies. UC-Davis, which will also try to run with Arkansas at times, starts four players who stand at least 6-foot-7. Sophomore Joe Harden, a 6-8 Notre Dame transfer, leads the Aggies in scoring.
Pelphrey commented Tuesday about his three new recruits, his first public remarks about 7-foot center Anthony Borden, of West Memphis, 6-5 junior college wing Jemal Farmer and 6-7 forward Marshawn Powell.
He called Borden "well-proportioned," lauded Farmer as a "big, athletic" scorer and noted Powell ranked in the top 50 of most national recruiting rankings.
"All three fit a need," Pelphrey said. "They have the chance to come in and fill roles and all three have the chance to have an impact next year. Physically, these guys look like Southeastern Conference players."
Junior forward Michael Washington played 41 minutes in Arkansas' 91-87 season-opening overtime win over Southeastern Louisiana last Friday night.
"If he doesn't perform like that, we don't win," Pelphrey said.
Still, Arkansas' coach said he hoped he could lower Washington's minutes the rest of the season. Washington's back cramped up in the second half, but the SEC player of the week continued playing.
"It's tiring, but you have to play through it," said Washington, who became the first Arkansas player to score 30 in a season-opener since Sidney Moncrief in 1979. "It was tough. (The cramps) hurt a little bit, but I just had to keep playing."
The way Pelphrey talked, it seems likely that former Arkansas wide receiver and part-time basketball player Marcus Monk will join the team when the first semester ends. Arkansas' compliance office is still working to clear Monk, who played one season of basketball and four seasons of football.
If cleared, Monk could join the Razorbacks for their Dec. 17 game against Austin Peay.
"I don't know if there is a final word, but I don't know if there is anything to keep that from happening," Pelphrey said. "I don't know where he is starting with us so there will obviously be a transition period."
"I've never seen him bounce a ball."
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