FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ basketball season begins Saturday with the 4:05 p.m. Red-White Game in Bud Walton Arena. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door or through the UA Ticket Office. The first 10,000 fans receive schedule posters and players will be available to sign autographs at tables throughout the concourse from 1-3 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. Activities previously associated with Midnight Madness are also scheduled prior to the game and at halftime. Drop boxes will also be set up for anyone wanting to donate non-perishable food items to the Salvation Army and Cooperative Emergency Outreach Food Bank.
Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“Saturday is a great opportunity for fans to come out and get a taste of basketball. A good amount of the things we’ll do this season are already in. We’ll answer a few questions, such as what the point guard situation is, how much guys have improved, and how we handle zones and man.
“I expect us to be better in December than we are right now, and I expect us to be better in January and then in February and in March.
“There are some interesting battles. We have several players playing well at power forward and center. It’s hard to divvy up those minutes and all those guys deserve to play. The perimeter is not as crowded.”
Red-White Game Rosters:
Red – Sammy Munsey, Dontell Jefferson, Ronnie Brewer, Sean McCurdy, Charles Thomas, Jonathon Modica, Steven Hill; White – Cyrus McGowan, Darian Townes, Gary Ervin, Luke Allen, Eric Ferguson, Preston Cranford, Vincent Hunter.
“The two teams are evenly matched. We made a couple of switches. I deliberately put Steven Hill and Darian Townes on different teams. I also put Eric Ferguson and Gary Ervin on the same team so I can see how Dontell Jefferson and Sean McCurdy handle the speed of those guys with the lights on.”
Ronnie Brewer, the SEC Preseason Player of the Year:
“He is one of the premier players in our league and in the country. The thing about Ronnie is you don’t expect it to go to his head. I expect him to continue to improve and hopefully he gets it at the end of the year.
“I would like for him, late in games, to be the guy we look at. I want him to put us in position to make a play, whether it’s scoring, passing or making a big stop. I want him to take more control.
“He’s a great guy. He’s as good as you get. He’s a good student and he’s one of the best players in the league.”
Charles Thomas and Vincent Hunter:
“Those are probably the two most under-appreciated players on our team. Both are doing very well.
“Vince provides offensive spacing because he can shoot.
“Charles is stronger. He can hurt some people. He’s very physical and has been a dominant rebounder. He can consistently hit the 15-foot shot and has been taking the ball to the basket.
“Both are capable of scoring in double-figures, getting rebounds and being pressure-relief players. They are both valuable and versatile.”