FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ men’s basketball teams plays its second game of the season on Thursday when the Razorbacks meet California-Davis (1-2) in Bud Walton Arena at 7:05 p.m. Arkansas is coming off Friday’s season-opening 91-87 overtime victory over Southeastern Louisiana. Following is a partial transcript of head coach John Pelphrey’s press conference previewing the contest.
“We feel fortunate having the chance to win the other night. This next game will be more of a challenge. Southeastern Louisiana had experience and this team does as well. Joe Harden is a transfer from Notre Dame and he’s a really good player. They can put him everywhere and they all shoot threes. Their spacing is tremendous.
“Their style of offense is similar to the Princeton style. Our guys may be blown away with how hard they cut and how hard they drive. It’s kind of unconventional in that their frontcourt players are outstanding perimeter players. It will be a cerebral game from the defensive side and a big, big challenge. Physically, they are bigger than us.
“That style, I think, was created because of the beauty and simplicity in the spacing and cutting, and to be able to capitalize on the fundamental truth defensively – the farther you go out and chase them, the more space you give them to cut.
“This is a good team. This will not be a non-competitive game. They can really play offense. It will be a battle of styles and which one will win out. We have to show discipline. They will also fast break and attack our pressure. We want to make sure we are not giving up layups, threes and free throws. We can’t give them the buffet of scoring opportunities.
“They can make a strong case to being 3-0 (lost at Iowa State, 61-58, and to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 81-75) and they have not played at home yet. They are very well coached. I think they will have a good season.”
“The guys on the bench need to step up. It is critical that we extend our bench. That will make us better and give us more weapons. That could be critical in winning four or five more games.”
Andre Clark, Jason Henry, Brandon Moore:
“I aspire to play Brandon, Jason and Andre as much as I can, as long as they can help us.”
“He was tremendous for us in that (SLU) game. He came up big late. He had 30 points, was 10-of-16 and had 14 rebounds. He was awesome. It got him SEC Player of the Week honors and he was very deserving. He had a great game and if he doesn’t perform like that, we don’t win.”
“It’s going to take time. Practice is important. We have to embrace practice and do a great job of coaching and communicating, and making them understand when the game gets here how to go out and compete.”
Fall signees (Anthony Borden [7-0 center, West Memphis, Ark.], Jemal Farmer [6-5 G/F, Chicago, Ill.], Marshawn Powell [6-7 F, Crozet, Va.]):
“I’m very, very excited about Marshawn Powell. I think he’s a consensus top 50 player. He can handle it, he can pass it and he can shoot it. He has a good understanding of how to play.
“Anthony Borden has great, great physical size. He’s well-proportioned. I think he has the chance to have a big year as he gets older. He can run and he can catch the ball. We may be talking about a different kind of guy in two to three months. That’s how hard he works.
“Jemal is a big, athletic wing. We needed that with the loss of Patrick. I think he was the leading scorer in the Jayhawk Conference last year.
“All three fit a need. They have the chance to come in and fill roles and all three have the chance to have an impact next year. Physically, these guys look like SEC players.”
Marcus Monk joining the team:
“I don’t know if there is a final word, but I don’t know if there is anything to keep that from happening. He can’t do anything until the semester is over. I don’t know where he is starting with us so there will obviously be a transition period.
“We have a depth issue. I’ve never seen him bounce a ball, but I’ve been around him on occasion. He’s a high-character guy and I know Coach (Houston) Nutt thought a lot of him. In the worst-case scenario, we’re getting added depth and a guy who can speak on how to compete, and he’s a quality person.”