This is the third installment in a new series written by former Razorback student-athletes called “Training Ground For Life”. To read previous stories written by James Johnson and Celia Anderson, click here and here.
Razorback Men’s Basketball Student-Athlete (1995-99)
SEC Network Basketball Analyst and Sports Radio Talk Show Host
It was August 22, 1995. I was sitting at restaurant on College Ave in Fayetteville with my family and I told them I wasn’t sure if this was the place for me. My parents, Rich and MaryAnn, kindly told me that after a 26 hour drive over 2 days from Everett, Mass, there was a zero percent chance I would be going back with them.
They explained how comfortable they felt with everyone they met in the basketball program and athletic department in the brief time they had been there and knew it was the place for me to get out of my comfort zone and experience new things. I was leaving a great support system for another, one that shared the same values that could help me grow in mind, body and spirit.
Once a Razorback, always a Razorback and the exposure you get as an student-athlete as well as the platform given to the student-athletes by the University will of Arkansas, help to put you in position for numerous opportunities. And they’ll always be looking out for you in the future. Truth be told, I’m not sure if it was that pep talk or the moment I sank my teeth into those juicy ribs that I was convinced.
Fast forward a few (ahem) years later and Arkansas can’t get rid of me now. God led me to the perfect place at the right time and that was the University of Arkansas.
Currently I’m working in Little Rock as co-host of a sports talk station on KABZ-FM 103.7 and as a college basketball analyst for the SEC Network, which AD Jeff Long was instrumental in that whole process. Remember the Once a Razorback always a Razorback thing? Yes, he was looking out for me. To say these are my dream jobs would be an understatement and for those who know me, they would say the only way I can make a living. But I would not have been interested or prepared for either position if not for the environment created by the U of A which helped me deal with the media and understand how important it was to talk to the media.
I played in a time when there was an “open locker room,” which means once Coach (Nolan) Richardson was done talking to the team after a game, any and all reporters were allowed in the locker room. So yes, 10 minutes after a big win or loss, at 19 years old in front of 15 or so reporters (maybe more depending on the game), they were all there wanting to know what just happened. I knew that if I was going to be on TV or quoted in the newspaper I wanted to give the most informative and entertaining answer I could.