I know that this will sound like I’m piling on John Pelphrey, but I can’t hold it in any longer: The Razorback basketball program has major issues that need to be quickly sorted through.
I thought Andre Clark’s comment was pretty telling:
“When that many guys leave after one year, it tells you something’s not working,” Clark said of being among four players to leave the program. “I don’t want to say anything bad about the coaches, I still love those guys and I still talk to them.”
It seems to be thought of as a basketball certainty that the player who works hard and overachieves will make an excellent coach one day. John Pelphrey fits that mold perfectly. They tend to: 1) understand the game; 2) place a great value on hard work; and 3) understand players such that they can get the best from them.
My view on Pelphrey is that he currently has only one of those three attributes. He has the next year to get players to love to play for him or he’s gone. He doesn’t have the credibility to continue to have guys leave on him.
Jason Henry may have been a problem child, but sending him away after one year (if he truly was academically eligible) creates questions. With Washington back and no changes in the coaching staff, the rumored locker room issues from last year are sure to resurface in the coming season.
As to understanding the game, you only have to look at the number of close losses last year and the overreliance on Courtney Fortson as proof points. The failure to establish a power forward other than Monk early in the season, as well as a solid half court offense in the fall, cost dearly in the conference season.
To say Razorback basketball is down would be an understatement. John Pelphrey has to get the program looking like it is going in the right direction or he will be history by this time next year.