Saturday, September 29, 2012

One of the few football pleasures

Aside from Lamar and Magazine high schools, I am not a big football fan. However, one of the things that does give me pleasure is to see one of those pretty-boy, clean-uniform quarterbacks (spread offense) get hammered by a linebacker coming in from the blind side. Pow! (I might hasten to add that my son-in-law was a quarterback, but not of the clean uniform type: he was willing take a hit and give it, and played linebacker on defense.)

Football - briefly

I see where the  top-ranked Sun Belt team is higher ranked in Sagarin than Fayetteville and Kentucky. And that was before this week's pounding at the hands of A&M. Horrors! Isn't the Sun Belt that conference that ASU is from (and Little Rock in basketball)?

I still say

that if our front line is healthy come SBC season, we will make some noise.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Withdrawal is setting in

I am ready for the seaoson to begin. Or at least some substantive reports from practice. Something! Anything!

The coach's two faces

It is hard to know the real personality of a coach unless you know him personally. Many who are all smiles and smoothness in front of the public can be real jerks to their players. Others who are somewhat brusque and cool toward fans/press are real players' coaches who will go to bat for the team.


One of the most interesting names (and one of the better players) in the Southland Conference is Southeastern Louisiana's Daron Populist. Makes you wonder if someone in his family was a politician back down the line.

One criticism

I like Steve Shields as a coach. A lot. However, one criticism that I do have of him is that the turnover among players in his program has been far too high. Not sure why.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The 3-point shot is a blot on the college basketball landscape. It rewards the taking of bad shots (especially with the 3-shot foul), and causes teams and players grossly to neglect other parts of the game. However, it is not likely to go away. That being the case, it behoves teams to master perimeter defense. When a team can get opponents to shoot less than 33% from the arc, they vastly improve their chances of winning, because most teams these days do not have a Plan B.


Keeping players healthy is the one thing that coaches largely cannot control - and which can shoot a season in the head even before it gets started.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dick Powell

The well-known actor Dick Powell was born in Arkansas and attended Little Rock University (now UALR). I wonder if he ever attended a Trojan basketball game.

Half full

We hear rumors of several injuries to key players. (We do not know any facts yet.) If this is true, we will have to take a "cup half full" attitude. It will let the younger players play earlier. We hope they are good; we think they are good. It looks like we will find out earlier rather than later if they are good.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Regardless of how the early season goes

It will be fun to see how the new kids develop.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Silence, as usual

As usual, the only thing we learn about this program is from Burn The Horse. The program asks for our support, then keeps us TOTALLY in the dark. This is a very difficult program to root for from that standpoint.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Changing conferences

Conferences charging large penalties to schools that leave, especially without due notice, sometimes seem to be cheap shots. However, there is a reason for it. Large amounts of money are involved in these enterprises. All of college athletics has a vested interest in stability in the respective sports (although none of them seem to recognize that fact at the moment). Furthermore, the conferences have a lot of time and money tied up in administrative costs and PR (building the brand). When teams bolt the conferences, it causes a lot of headaches, which translates into lots of costs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recruiting zone

Our main recruiting area seems to be Texas, which leaves out a lot of good prospects - but that is OK. There is far more than enough talent in that state to furnish us with upgrades for a long time.


Once again, we are going to have to be patient with this group during the non-conference season. It appears that it will take a while to get everyone healthy, plus they are just so young. But I think the talent is there. Stay tuned, because I think we will finish strong again this year.

Coming on late

We will have eight first-year players on the roster this year. But we may forget that we had six last year (Dillard, Fondren, Javes, Lawton, Lockhart, Neighbour). We started very slowly, but came on strong to win the division. Presumably the talent this year is better than last year. We may start slowly again, but might come on even stronger down the stretch. Here's hoping.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Coaching and recruiting

Recruiting is NOT coaching. Coaching is taking the talent you have and making it the best it can be. However, part of a head coach's job is recruiting - the way things go today it is probably the biggest part of it.

Coach K

He has had 55 McDona'd's All-Americans. Who couldn't win with that kind of talent?!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What Dillard did right

Ben Dillard was only a true freshman last year, but he did a lot of things right. First, he logged 447 minutes with more experienced players returning at the two guard positions. Second, he showed right off the bat that he can shoot the ball - 42.9% from the arc and 85% from the line. Very good numbers for anyone, especially a true freshman. Third, he had a 1.41 Assist/Turnover ratio, which is not bad for any guard, but is very good for a true freshman shooting guard.

Who gets beat out?

One of the measuring sticks of a team is how many presumed starters get beaten out by newcomers. If they returners are terrible, it means little. If they are at least solid, it might mean a lot. Look at the 2012-13 Trojans:

If Andrew Poulter should beat out Gus or Javes, that would be HUGE. Not likely, but if it did happen - look out!

If anyone should beat out Will Neighbour, then we should be the best team in the SBC.

The chances of someone beating out Taggart or Ben at the 3 and the 2 is more likely. We have some talented kids coming in, and those two only have one year each of experience.

Neighbour forever

Does it seem to you that Will Neighbour has been here forever? And yet he is only approaching his junior year.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Speaking of defense

Focus and intensity play key roles in defense. It is amazing how often defensive breakdowns occur  because players tend to "relax" after their offensive possession.


To me, John Fowler still remains the standard of defensive excellence at Little Rock.

BTH count down

Burn The Horse is counting down the days until the season begins. Cannot get here too soon for me. Ought to be a lot of fun this season, with so many new faces.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Front line

We have a good number of question marks on the perimeter, but the prospect of seeing our front line this year has me licking my chops. Get ready, SBC!

The 3

For whatever reason, the small forward position on Steve Shields' teams has been heavily involved in defense and rebounding, as opposed to most teams, where it is more an offensive position. Taggart Lockhart is supposed to be healthy this year, and is pretty bulky for a 3, so here's hoping he is able to help with the rebounding.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


We are one reliable freshman point guard away from having a hope of being in the top tier of the SBC.

Who is the jump up?

It is a common saying that the biggest improvement players make is from their first to their second years in D1. We have five such players - Neighbour, Leeper, Javes, Lockhart and Dillard. Which one will be the one to make the big jump in performance? Maybe more than one? What about all four? Actually, that wouldn't surprise me. If that happens, watch out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Always keep in mind

that Fayetteville did NOT recruit Derek Fisher.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Competition in practice

Imagine Trojan practices this year. Gus and Javes, both bulked up considerably, going head to head. Likewise with Will and James White. Will has the shooting and ball-handling skills, but James evidently has much greater athleticism. And the two freshmen point guards going at it. And those are just a few of the interesting possibilities.


For me, the basketball season begins when the preseason magazines come out. Any day now!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I wish the season would get here!

So many new players, and we know so little about them. Can they play? Are we going to be so young that we are completely hopeless this year? Has our talent improved even if it is young? All we get out of Little Rock is silence - except for Burn The Horse blog.