Henry Not Pelphrey's Focus

TAMPA, Fla. — Arkansas coach John Pelphrey usually has plenty to say about freshman guard Jason Henry's season-long, off-the-court problems.

But one day after suspending Henry for the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Pelphrey said he wanted to concentrate on something else.

"I'm going to focus on the guys that are here and be excited about what we've got in front of us," Pelphrey said Wednesday in the St. Pete Times Forum. "We may decide to talk about some of those things later."

Henry was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules and remained in Fayetteville while the team prepared for its first-round game against Florida.

It is Henry's third suspension this season. Pelphrey said Henry remains a member of the team despite his latest trangression, but wasn't ready to weigh his long-term future with the program Wednesday.

"Obviously, the season is not over," Pelphrey said. "So that's probably premature."

Henry's absence leaves the Razorbacks with nine scholarship players for the tournament.

The lack of depth will put pressure on forward Michael Sanchez and Michael Washington to stay out of foul trouble. It also will provide little-used freshmen Brandon Moore and Andre Clark opportunities for playing time in the frontcourt. And Pelphrey said he'll even turn to guard Stephen Cox if necessary.

"He knows to be ready," Pelphrey said. "He knows a couple of different spots. So I'm not opposed to putting him in there either."

A Different Clarke

The last time the Razorbacks and Gators met, Florida coach Billy Donovan pulled guard Rotnei Clarke aside and offered a few encouraging words after the freshman suffered through a scoreless afternoon.

Donovan should see a much more-confident shooter when the Gators play Arkansas tonight. Clarke is averaging 15.6 points the past nine games and has made four or more 3-pointers in eight of those outings.

"I've got great respect for Clarke," Donovan said Wednesday. "He's a phenomenal shooter."

Pelphrey vs. Donovan

Pelphrey and Donovan will coach against each other for the fourth time in their careers tonight.

Pelphrey has said it is an awkward feeling, but the goal doesn't change when they square off in the first round.

"My family has tremendous love and respect for his family," Pelphrey said. "I hope that never goes away. But I think we've both also done this enough now to where it's never been about us. It's about the basketball teams that are playing in the games."

Pelphrey is 1-2 against Donovan, which includes Arkansas' 80-65 loss in Gainesville, Fla., in January.

And despite Arkansas' struggles this season, Donovan believes his former assistant coach is doing well.

"I think for any coach in a new situation, everything always takes a level of time," Donovan said. "He's doing a great job. He's a terrific coach."

Home-Court Edge?

Florida didn't have to travel far this week. Tampa is roughly two hours from the school's campus. The Gators also are 3-1 in the St. Pete Times Forum and have won 14 straight neutral site games in their home state.

But the close proximity and home state success wasn't enough for Florida forward Dan Werner.

"I think they should let us play in Gainesville instead of here," Werner joked.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories