FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorbacks are 13-9 overall and 1-8 in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky is 17-7 overall and 6-3 in the SEC.
Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Following is a partial transcript of his press conference.
“Kentucky is a team. A year ago it was the big three and nobody could stop them. Think about how good they are when they get production from others, and they got it the other night (win over Florida). (Patrick) Patterson is one of my favorite players in the league. He has a warrior-type mentality. He physically wears you out when he’s posting up.”
“Courtney Fortson is suspended indefinitely. It was my decision. I’m not going to comment too much more. Again, it was my decision. My feelings on what I think are important are, at Arkansas we deserve a disciplined program with the players and coaches we have had. That is what I believe. Certainly I am not perfect and the players are not perfect, but I will always give my best. This was not an isolated incident. He will not practice today. I make mistakes. Players make mistakes. We need to be reminded what is important.”
Playing without a key player:
“Looking at our team, we are struggling for wins. That is accurate, but I like our team. Call me crazy. I have no problem with that. You never like to be without one of your better players, and us without any of our players is not good. When we line up on Saturday, I think we will have an opportunity to win.
“I’ve played enough and coached enough to know it is still a game. It’s not played on paper. We have an unbelievable home court. Anything is possible.”
What Fortson must do to play again:
“I expect the Razorbacks to play hard, have an unbelievable attitude, be incredible teammates and to do your job. We may not be able to do all of that all the time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work at it very hard.”
“This isn’t the NBA. I can’t go out and pick up somebody right now. We’re past the break so we can’t have walk-on tryouts.
“I’m excited about this group. We’ll lace them up and go out and compete on Saturday. When something like this happens, it provides an opportunity for someone else. What better opportunity than to play a noon game on Saturday on CBS against the program with more wins than anybody else.”
“I thought he did very well (at Auburn). He has a live, active body. His issues have been more organizational, such as getting to the right place over and over again. He’s getting better at that.”
Coaching against Kentucky:
“I didn’t talk to our team one time last year about where I played. It’s not about me. It’s Arkansas and Kentucky. It’s their game.
Auburn and Mississippi State games:
“We had the lead with around six minutes left (at Auburn). You can make excuses – we played guys too many minutes or we were on the road or whatever. We did it for the first 34 minutes. We just have to do it, but give credit to Mississippi State and Auburn. We’re not out there by ourselves. We aspire to play better longer, but I have tremendous respect for the coaches and players in this league.”