FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following a nine-day break for semester exams, the 7-1 Arkansas Razorbacks return to action on Wednesday when they play host to 4-2 Texas-San Antonio. Following is a partial transcript of head coach John Pelphrey’s press conference.
“We’re still finishing up finals. We’re still grinding away. This is an important time for our kids. We will start preparation for Texas-San Antonio, so we have double-duty with some tough stuff going on.
“(Over the break) we’ve gotten some things done. The next two days will be more like our normal preparation, but the last two days were a little less like our style. They were a little more situational.”
“I’m very familiar with their coach (Brooks Thompson). Like Scott Sutton, he was on that first Oklahoma State team when I was one of the coaches. He played for a year with (UA assistant Isaac) Brown at Texas A&M. He’s a great human being and a good basketball coach. His team will be talented. They will play hard. There will be a Coach (Eddie) Sutton influence on defense. We’ll have to make sure we’re spaced correctly.”
Charles Thomas (his picture was posted on the Washington County Sheriff’s Department web site):
“It is my understanding he was given a date to report and begin community service, like everybody else in his situation. Everything that has taken place (on Monday) is standard procedure. He has some things he’s working on to take care of from the past. Any time a player is involved with a legal matter, it is very sensitive. From what I understand, yes, Charles has made some mistakes, but today was not one of those. He has some community service to do and he has been doing some (through a local church, delivering food to families on Thanksgiving day and helping put on a softball game for handicapped children).”
Playing after a nine-day break:
“I’m not so much concerned mentally because they’ve been grinding away with finals, but it is a concern. Practice is almost like an outlet. They’ve been ready to get out and they want to come run around a little bit. Practice has been spirited. I expect them to study and come play ball.
“(UTSA game as a second season-opener) is not a bad mindset to have. The two most important games on the schedule are the last one and the next one.”
“He’s back. He’s practicing and he’s done well. Dave (England, trainer) did a great, great job with him. Kelly Lambert (strength and conditioning coach) has done a great job with his conditioning. The assistant coaches have done a good job of getting him to work with his left hand. He’s out there and able to run and change directions, he’s gotten to his spots and has banged in a few three-pointers. He’s playing on Wednesday. He looks good.”
Most improved players:
“I don’t know. Every day is a challenge. Charles, from the first time I saw him until we started practice; Darian Townes is in a pretty good place; Marcus Britt has made progress, but after practice started I was high on him; and Michael Washington in the classroom. Coming into (semester) finals, he’s really improved in the classroom.”
“He has a ridiculous attitude. He’s coachable, he’s a good teammate, he encourages everybody and he’s able to get his defense into the game. Against Oral Roberts, we put him on (Robert) Jarvis. He has not turned it over, which is refreshing because the rest of those guys turn it over.”
Stefan Welsh starting and Gary Ervin coming off the bench at point guard:
“I’m not going to say that’s why we have won four or five in a row, but after the Providence game, we needed Gary and Stefan to play better than they had been.”