FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks play host to Delaware State (2-2) on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. in a non-televised game. Arkansas went 2-1 last week at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Wednesday to recap the Puerto Rico tournament and to preview Saturday’s game. Following is a partial transcript of his press conference.
“Overall, I think, we were pleased. We had expectations of competing for the championship. I was disappointed with our performance against Providence, but give them credit. They had a great game plan and they executed. We had a huge test in doing some fundamental things (taking care of the ball against Virginia Commonwealth). To play the way we did, the game was still in doubt with 1:30 to go, the effort and attitude were phenomenal. There wasn’t a time where I thought we were not focused on the next play we could make to help the team.
“My challenge to the guys now is to take that same progress that was made, protect it and build on it.”
“They were on their way to the NCAA Tournament last year. They got beat at the end on a side out of bounds play by Florida A&M and that kept them out. They have Roy Bright, who is a wing player, but he can also play around the basket. He has been in this environment before. He’s probably a similar-type player to Charles Thomas. He’s physical and can do things around the basket.”
“He’s making an effort to do things better defensively. Those steps are small and he needs to continue to build on that. He likes to block shots a little too much. He has the ability to make athletic plays and get big blocks, but I would like to see him square up defensively more often.
“He needs to be more consistent with his defensive positions. He tends to sometimes get out of position. Offensively, we’re able to get the ball to him where he can do something with it.
“I like his personality. He needs to make sure he’s focused all the time.
“He’s probably played more minutes that we expected to this point because Steven (Hill) has been in foul trouble.”
“We need the ball in his hands, in terms of driving and making a layup or finding the open man.”
Starting point guard:
“We’ll see how it goes. It’s not set in stone. We’re looking for the best opportunity to win. As a staff, we need to see focus and willingness to do whatever is necessary for us to win. We need the same attitude we had against VCU.
“A lot of times, the focus in on ‘Am I starting.’ I really felt for the VCU game, that nobody cared about anything except the next play.”
“We’re not very good. Our percentage (.267, 16-60) is probably a little too low. I could probably get that many in. We need to be jamming it in the hole. The best shot, to me, is a free throw with no one guarding you and the clock not running. We will have games where we make a lot of threes. I think our three-point shooting is better than what we’ve shown.”
Levan Patsatsia (sprained ankle):
“I think he’s close to being back to full speed.”
“He’s getting the pins taken out of his finger today. He will be evaluated in a couple of days. He could be 10 days to two weeks away (from playing) or it could be four weeks. At the time he got hurt, he would have been the second guard off the bench.”