Friday, April 17, 2015

A grinder

“Love the hire of Chris Beard,” ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman said. “He’s extremely well respected in the industry and is considered a terrific coach as well as a grinder – which is needed in a place like Little Rock to be successful.”

I am not sure what Goodman meant by a "grinder," but it probably means that he is not flashy, but plugs away over time. I like that quality.

Long trip to college basketball

Idaho State forward Andre Slavik is a native of Slovakia. An article on their official site about him said that he grew up in "a  basketball town, but in an ice hockey and soccer country." However, his father had played basketball, so that is where he ended up. Basketball is a pretty universal sport, but it is far from being the biggest sport in many countries.

Andre Slavik

How long does it take to assemble a staff?

I realize that you do not hire people overnight. There is a procedure that has to be followed and those things take time. But how much time? I would assume that when a coach makes the final cut, he is beginning to think who he wants on his staff if he gets the job, so he has that much already done. And perhaps has even made a few private inquiries. On his initial staff he probably is not going to hire someone he does not know. So how long should it take?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Protocol for official announcements

I probably will never know, but I would be curious to learn about the procedures for official announcements to the press and on the official website. Probably reports on games have to go no further than the SID. However, I am guessing that personnel announcements have to go a little further up the ladder than that, since sometimes there are legalities involved, particularly when an employee or player leaves the program. Maybe those would have to be approved by the legal department? I do not know, but I feel sure there are definite procedures that are followed.

Once a Trojan, always a Trojan

If our new AD did nothing else right during his tenure, his immediate institution of the LITTLE ROCK'S TEAM emphasis would have been a notable accomplishment. Just exactly the right thing to do, and lots of us were saying that for years. We do not hope to move into Fayetteville's bailiwick, but we would like to carve out a niche in the state's largest city - and defend it with an aggressive PR campaign. Well, done, Chasse!

Now, let me suggest a tag-on campaign to that one. UALR is and has been one of the largest schools in the state for some time, but has been woefully lacking in alumni support because of the historic position of the university as a commuter school. School loyalty when you are not a part of campus life is understandably lacking. But we have a state full of UALR grads who ought to be and could be proud of their school. So as a tag line to the new campaign, add on a reminder that these folks are a part of the school and ought to support it.

LITTLE ROCK'S TEAM
Once a Trojan, always a Trojan!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Strong showing by Little Rock's women's golf

Finished 3rd in the SBC championship. Stina Resen won individual medalist honors. Four of the Trojans' top five finishers should return next season.

LINK

Did Otis Campell cost me the race?


               I was a competitive runner in our class on a local level in the 1971 track season. Due to senioritis and injuries, our team at Booneville High School was not very good, but I was the high point man at the District Meet. In fact, coach had told me very pointedly before the meet that he wanted eight points out of me, and he didn’t care how I got them. Back then the scoring was on a 6-4-3-2-1 basis, so he meant I had to have a win and a fourth place, or two second places.
              All season long I had battled with Charleston’s Greg Luther in both the mile and the 880. He was a strong, competitive runner, and I never was able to beat him. In fact, he went on to win the 880 at the state meet the next weekend, so the was the real deal. There were several good competitors in our district, including my younger brother, Robert, but Greg and I were the two best middle-distance runners in our class in the immediate area, and he was by himself in first place.

               With Coach’s ultimatum ringing in my ears, I knew I had to run a good race in the mile, which was the first of the two races, and the one in which I had the better chance against Luther. As we came past the end of the first lap, two runners from Paris boxed me in – obviously a deliberate tactic to hinder my progress. One ran just in front of me and the other on my shoulder, so that I could not get out without fouling one of them and possibly forfeiting the race, or falling back until I could get outside the pack, which would cost time and energy. They stayed there for the entire second lap, but as we came past the finish line I noticed that the man on my shoulder had dropped off the pace a little and left enough of a gap that I could get through without fouling him, so I darted through and took off. Luther took off after me, and we quickly broke away from the pack.
               I kept the lead all the third lap. He was just sitting there behind me, waiting to launch his potent kick when the time was right. I knew that if I could fight him off down the final back straight, I had a chance; and I probably did some of the best running of my modest career down that long straightaway. If I could hold him off to the curve, I knew he likely would not try to pass on the outside lane; and that is the way it worked out. I had a half-step lead on him, holding the advantage of the inside lane as we came out of the final curve into the stretch.

               If you will think  back, you will remember a character from the Andy Griffith television program named Otis Campbell, the town drunk. There was a kid from Dardanelle whose last name was Campbell, who was nicknamed after the TV character. He had  been required by his coach to run the mile, probably as off-season training for football, and undoubtedly unwillingly. He was a full lap behind the leaders and knew nothing about the etiquette of running, which requires runners being lapped to move to the outside lanes so that the leaders are not hindered. All he knew was that he was exhausted and still had another lap to go, so he was doggedly plugging along, head down, and nothing in the world was going to make him run farther than he had to by moving to an outside lane.
              Because “Otis” was in lane one, I was blocked, so I had to break stride to get around him, by which time Luther had rushed past and there was no chance I was going to catch him with only a few yards left and my momentum broken. I have no idea if I could have beaten Luther, because he was a fine, tough runner; but I have always wished that I had had a chance to see how it might have ended.

               The postscript to the story is that I set the school record in that race, but I held it only six days. Luther dropped out of the mile in the state meet to concentrate on the 880, so my brother was moved into his slot. I was nervous and did not run well at all, but Robert did; and he broke my school record. Ah, how fleeting is fame!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trojan baseball keeps coming on!

Nice close win over #24 Missouri. (The official site listed them as #14.) How 'bout those Trojans! As I write the Trojan women are tied for 2nd in the Belt championship golf tournament. Looking up!

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One-and-done: I do not like the option, but . . .

Since the NBA evidently is not going to change its rules, there is one thing that the college game could do to help fix the problem. Just go back to making freshmen ineligible. Then, those big money one-year sorts would be sitting out their freshmen years, so all of them would probably go to the NBA out of high school. Not a very good option, but it might send a message to the NBA.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I wonder if we tried for Rick Ray

SEMO got him. Even the Belt is better than the OVC.

And you don't think college basketball has gone backward?

Look at the list of players on the All-American team from 1968. Watch this film clip.
LINK

How Alcindor compared with today's crop of big men

Very nice spot on ESPN. I agree. Alcindor would have had them for breakfast.

LINK


A lot of meaningless information

Rivals recruiting database currently lists 13 players who have an interest in Little Rock who have not yet committed. Presumably, none of those are on the table at this point with the new coach, so Rivals did a lot of work for nothing, I suppose.

Anthony Grant ends up assistant at Florida

I had thought (dreamed) that we might have a shot at him, but obviously being an assistant at Florida is a lot better job than a head coach in Little Rock.

The irony for Steve Shields

In his final season as Little Rock coach, after enduring snipes throughout his tenure for playing boring offense, his team was 4th in the Belt in points per game.

A nice tribute to Bo Ryan

CBS Sports site's Ridiculously Early Preseason Top 25 (and one) picks Wisconsin 17th, with this note: "Will Wisconsin have a top-20 roster? No. But Bo Ryan will still be the coach. So the Badgers belong in the top 20."

Where we ended in SBC stats

Team stats where we were top three or bottom three:
Scoring defense - 9th
FG% defense - 10th
3PT % - 2nd
3PT% defense - 11th
Rebounding margin - 11th
Turnover margin - 2nd
Assist/turnover ratio - 2nd
Offensive rebounds - 9th
3PT FG made - 2nd

Individual:
Scoring Josh Hagins - 14th
Rebounding - Roger Woods 10th
FG% - Roger Woods - 10th
Assists - Josh Hagins 8th
FT% - Josh Hagins 3rd, Ben Dillard 4th
Steals - Josh Hagins 7th
3PT% - Mareik Isom 1st, James Reid 15th
3PT FG made - James Reid 11th
A/TO ratio - Josh Hagins 5th

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The new coach will have to hurry

We will soon be into the late recruiting period. Most of the prime targets are taken. Of course, he probably was already plugged into the pipeline, even from the D2 level, so it is not like he is working blind. He might even bring one of his better players with him if he had anyone that good. Thankfully, if everyone comes back, he probably does not need a lot of recruiting help this year except for a rebounder, so he has time. Really, he got a break by what Shields had waiting for him, so that gives him some slack. But he badly needs a proven rebounding/defensive post player, and every day his recruiting team is not put together is a day that he player(s) he wants could go elsewhere.

Opportunity for Trojan baseball

At the moment (with a game currently under way) we are in second place by a full game. The golf teams have been looking good. Things may be looking up in Little Rock overall.

The tension and pressure of golf

It is probably different from that of any other sport. Total focus on one distinct act, with no one altering or defending your shot, just you and how well you do it. If you do not play well, you have no one to blame but yourself.