November 21, 2014

Home Ain’t What It Used to Be

Mediocrity is such a mean word.  That’s the word that CBSSports.com writer Gary Parrish used last week to describe the Arkansas Razorback basketball program.  I hate it that he used that word.

This is Mike Anderson’s third year with the Hogs.  It was in year three that his Missouri team made the really big improvement.  Year three was supposed to be the year at Arkansas.

At this point, we know that year three is not the year.  I’m not seeing it coming in year four or year five, unless things change greatly.

The post I wrote on this site shortly before the hiring of Coach Anderson is, unfortunately, turning out to be extremely prophetic.  The days of playing a hectic style using undersized players never really ever existed as we think we remember it and certainly doesn’t exist today.

Without three very strong players to lead the way, no basketball team will be of championship-caliber.  Think Magic, Kareem and Worthy.  Think Bird, Dennis Johnson and McHale.  Think Day, Mayberry and Miller.  Think Corliss, Beck and Thurman.  Post man, shooting guard / small forward and point guard.  And without those two seven foot freshmen, the ’94 team would have never made it to the Final Four.

As UNLV’s Larry Johnson once famously told Nolan, “Coach, you got to get you some men.”

I’m not ready to give up on Coach Anderson, but he needs to make some adjustments in his style and type of players if he is going to move the program forward and compete in the SEC.

  • OwassoHog

    Looks like too many folks expected Mike to be the savior of our program but reality is starting to show. I expected that Mike would be slightly better than our previous 2 coaches but his results are not showing it.

  • Hogwild28

    Our fans have lost their minds. What a group of pessimistic, impatient, and unrealistic fans. That sounds harsh but guys we have to re-evaluate what you are expecting and what you feel we should be delivering. CMA took a team in absolute disarray. Dont forget that. After Heath the coach we hired changed his mind to stay st Creighton. We got Pelphrey and quickly forgot that college is about education. He wrecked our APR and had scholarships taken away and dramatically changed the types of players we could recruit (can’t take academic chances if you are on probation for APR). CMA has a highly competitive group on the floor right now that is young. We lost our two best players last year. Think about that. Our best guard and best forward. We are magically supposed to bounce back from that? Do you have to snap two fingers or just one when trying to make that magic happen? I am very unhappy with losing…seriously hate it. But if you watch our team and not see the progress and the potential that is glaring out at you then I’m afraid you dont understand the game. We are jumping the gun and grabbing pitchforks when the man is at the door step of where we want to be. I’m embarrassed when I read these stories (or blogs) because I know recruits and players read these.

    • OwassoHog

      Sorry… not seeing any differences and we are just about finished with our 3 year. All of the same issues all of the same results! Mike took over a team in disarray… John took over a team in disarray… Heath took over a team in disarray… come on… really, almost 3 years later… same result! (BTW – I’m not saying that things won’t change just that after 3 years we’ve seen zero results) on the court!

    • Porcine

      The more Mike loses, the worse Pelphrey supposedly was.

    • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ Walking on Sunshine

      The one thing that is very troubling to me is that I see other teams…lesser programs…getting better players than we have. Take LSU for example. Johnny Jones is in his second year, but he went out and gathered up some men in Martin and Mickey and now they’re on their way.

      This staff, for whatever reason, has failed to go out and do that. I see progress, but its damn slow. One more good graduation will help some, but we should be further down the road than where we are now.

      • OwassoHog

        I totally agree with we should be further down the road… (don’t get me wrong as I didn’t expect it) but sure seems like we were supposed to be in the final 4 this year based upon the reaction upon Mike’s hiring!

    • Bearangler

      Watch the team. No fundamentals. Can’t rebound. No perimeter defense during crush time. CMA will never produce a NCAA tournament at Arkansas. Gone in year 5.

  • GolfHog

    If what you say is true, and much of it is, Mike will adjust. The message of this season is clear. More must be done. Timing is important in a comeback as well. Mike just got his big guys this year. Give them time to be ready to carry some load. Corliss, Big O, and Stewart were keys to the those teams. This team NEEDS an inside game.

  • Roadhog

    It was Frank Broyles that left this program in a shambles. He had gotten lucky twice with Sutton and Richardson, and he thought he had a knack for picking up-and-coming coaches. But he struck out with Heath and Pelphrey. Nolan had a lot to do with the collapse, too. He always had a chip on his shoulder and was ungracious even in victory. I’m sure he felt the sting of racism many times in his life, but some of the criticism he took as racist was the kind of flack that all coaches take. He played the race card one too many times. Now we have Anderson, in only his third year, the first basketball coach not hired by Broyles since Lanny Van Eman in ’71. As Hogwild28 pointed out below, Anderson inherited a program in disarray, and practically all of the best players from Pelphrey’s teams have left this program. Just imagine what we’d be now if we had Powell and Young still healthy and in uniform.

    We have been losing lately mostly because we haven’t been hitting out shots. The players have been getting good looks but they haven’t been hitting them. It’s Anderson’s job to help them get good shots, but he can’t shoot the effing ball for them. This team will be much better next year, assuming all the players stay with the program. We also need a good recruiting year, and there’s talent in-state. Yes we need bigger players, but 6’6″ guards and big athletic forwards are hard to come by. Most of the teams we have played in-conference this season are going to be better next year too. Considering the circumstances it is much too soon to get down on Anderson or the players. These guys are good and getting better. They’ll win a lot of games. But Anderson does need to recruit bigger, stronger, faster players to match up against the competition.

    As for the Garry Parrish piece: point well taken. The Razorbacks have been mediocre for nearly twenty years, a whole generation. Frank Broyles and Nolan Richardson are primarily responsible for that, along with timely circumstances, changing A.D.s and coaches and players. Now it’s up to Jeff Long and Mike Anderson to bring the program back to respectability. If they can. If not, well, that happens to programs sometimes. There are lots of programs that once were great but are no more. But I believe they are committed to returning the Razorbacks to prominence.