FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas head men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson has filled five positions on his coaching and support staff he announced on Tuesday. Joining Anderson from Missouri are Associate Head Coach Melvin Watkins, Assistant Coach Matt Zimmerman, Assistant Coach T.J. Cleveland, Director of Operations Jeff Daniels and Strength and Conditioning Coach David Deets.
"I’m very excited to have these guys join me at Arkansas," Anderson said. "They are very familiar with the system that I want to run. We enjoy working with one another and to me that makes the ultimate team. Having those guys want to be a part of what we are doing at Arkansas provides continuity which will ultimately help build a better team."
A former head coach at Texas A&M and UNC-Charlotte, Watkins has been with Anderson since he took over the Missouri program in 2006. Twice named Rivals.com’s Top Assistant Coach in 2009 and 2010 and the 1997 Conference USA Coach of the Year, Watkins has been on the sidelines for 33 years as both an assistant and head coach. He was instrumental in Missouri’s rise with Anderson at the helm and is known among coaching circles as a tremendous recruiter with eight top 100 national recruits to his credit at Texas A&M including current Chicago Bull Acie Law and 2005 NBA first-round draft pick Antoine Wright. Watkins is also an excellent teacher, not just of the game, but of life. He has groomed several players into pro prospects and as a head coach saw players earn 15 Academic All-Big 12 honors.
An Arkansas graduate and former student manager for Anderson with the Razorbacks, Zimmerman returns to Fayetteville after spending the past nine years at Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) and Missouri. Following his graduation from Arkansas in 1990, Zimmerman coached at Plainview-Rover and Dardanelle High Schools in Arkansas. With Anderson, Zimmerman has worked with both guards and post players.
A familiar name to Razorback fans, Cleveland also returns to his alma mater, this time as an assistant coach. A four-year letterwinner for the Razorbacks (1998-02), Cleveland helped Arkansas win the 2000 Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and upon graduating joined Anderson at UAB as video coordinator. After three seasons, Cleveland was promoted to assistant coach for the Blazers and joined Anderson when he took the Missouri job. One of the nation’s top young recruiters, Cleveland was recognized at the Nike Villa 7 Consortium as an NCAA Top Up & Coming Assistant. Cleveland has also learned to teach the game with a hands-on approach with guards at both UAB and Missouri.
Daniels has been with Anderson for the past six seasons, one at UAB and most recently at Missouri. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Daniels was a head coach at the University of Montevallo and associate head coach at Division II Valdosta State prior to joining Anderson at UAB. At Missouri, Daniels was tasked with overseeing the administration of Mike Anderson’s basketball camps, team travel, facility scheduling, public relations affairs and the budget.
Rounding out Anderson’s staff, Deets takes over the strength and conditioning aspects of the Razorback men’s basketball program. A graduate of Northeastern (Okla.) State in 2000, Deets has been with Anderson for the past five years at Missouri after two-year stints at both Oklahoma State and Texas Christian. Deets tutored four National Strength and Conditioning All-Americans and has been a featured speaker at state and national conferences. Arkansas’ newest strength and conditioning coach was also one of seven individuals to participate in Nike Basketball’s SPARQ advisory program which helped design basketball specific tests for the NBA.