Long, Pelphrey Not Too Worried

FAYETTEVILLE — The NCAA's request for information regarding some of the Arkansas basketball program's recruiting practices doesn't have coach John Pelphrey or athletic director Jeff Long too concerned.

The Morning News learned through a recent Freedom of Information Act request that the NCAA requested information from Arkansas on Dec. 12 and again on Feb. 14. The information was requested by Lu-Ann Humphrey, the NCAA's associate director of enforcement.

Long said the NCAA's actions shouldn't be looked at as an inquiry.

"I'm not overly concerned by it at this point in time," Long said. "Anytime the NCAA is asking you for information, you're concerned. ... I don't know this for sure. I can't tell you about another institution, but I understand that maybe there's some other schools they're gathering information from in addition to us."

In the Dec. 12 letter to Arkansas, the NCAA stated "that the men's basketball coaching staff may have engaged in recruiting violations involving prospective studentathlete(s) in Mississippi." The NCAA has requested information ranging from expense reports and lists of scouting service subscriptions to player evaluations from certain states and cell phone records.

Long said he believed the NCAA's "information-gathering" could stem from the formation of a three-person focus group tasked with looking at possible money funneling to basketball prospects' "handlers."

Pelphrey said he didn't "foresee any issues" with the NCAA's request.

"I know that myself and the coaching staff (find it) important to follow the rules and guidelines that were put into play, and in doing things the right way," Pelphrey said.

More Recruits

Pelphrey already has signed three players for next season, 6-foot-5 junior college guard Jemal Farmer and two high school standouts — 6-7 power forward Marshawn Powell and 6-10 center Anthony Borden.

That hasn't stopped him from hitting the recruiting trail hard since Arkansas lost in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

"(We're looking for) guys that can help," Pelphrey said. "Big wings. Bigger, athletic guys. Also, we need another ball-handler at the point guard spot. We're going to sign some people in the spring. How many of them, I don't know."

One player Arkansas has offered a scholarship to is Julysses Nobles, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound point guard from Callaway High in Jackson, Miss.

Coaching Staff

Pelphrey said he didn't intend to make any changes to his coaching staff.

"Not from my side of it," Pelphrey said. "But I don't know if those guys might have the chance to move up the ladder."

Long said he would discuss the staff with Pelphrey at their end-of-the-season meeting.

"That largely remains the head coach's responsibility," Long said. "Certainly we'll talk about his staff and how they fit and what they do and how he feels about their efforts."

Next Season

The only nonconference games Pelphrey confirmed for next season were a home contest with Texas and a trip to Oklahoma.

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