FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath met with the media on Monday for an update on the progress of his club. The Red-White Game is Saturday at 4:05 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door or through the UA Ticket Office. Doors open at 1 p.m. and players will be available to sign autographs from 1-3 around the concourse. Following is a partial transcript of the press conference.
“We’ve been working on certain situations. We’ve been working on being a team that can defend all the way through the clock. We’re getting to the point where it is instinctive instead of reactionary. We’re playing at a faster pace, but that also means you make more mistakes.”
“They’re fighting like cats and dogs every day. The older guys are helping Sean (McCurdy) figure out what it will be like. For a couple of days I think it will be this guy (starting) and then I think it will be this guy. It could change. Freshmen are a lot different at mid-season than they are early on.
“I want to see if Sean and Dontell Jefferson can hold down that position. We can leave Eric Ferguson on the wing and Ronnie Brewer would be at the point at different parts of the game. That’s my preference, but that’s not written in stone. Chemistry is huge. At that position, one of the main responsibilities is to get the ball to the right guy at the right time.
“Sean is a lot better defensively than I imagined. He’s still learning how to play in screen situations. I’ve watched him be able to go toe-to-toe with Gary Ervin and Eric Ferguson.”
Vincent Hunter and Charles Thomas:
“Both of those guys are very good pressure-relief players. They can step out and get the ball and we’re right there in our (offense). They both take pressure off the point guard. They can handle the ball without turning it over.”
“I’ve been really pleased the last two or three days. I’ve been really impressed with some of the things he’s doing. We’ll see if he can carry it through, but he’s been a very different player from just two weeks ago. Steven, Ronnie and Eric make a lot happen defensively.”
Sean McCurdy and Cyrus McGowan:
“They are both progressing. Our need is so much greater at guard and we have four veteran players with experience on the inside. The point guard spot hasn’t been resolved since I’ve been here.”
“Defensively, he’s much better. He’s giving a conscious effort to become a better defender and he’s aware we need him to be better in that area. We feel our team is capable of defending and making a play, but we will play teams that will run 20 to 25 seconds just to make you break down.”