Despite the urgent pleas of John Pelphrey, we were unable to attend Friday night's opening of basketball practice at Bud Walton Arena (we were meeting with some Hollywood producers to discuss selling the RazorbackExpats.com movie rights). In our place, however, we were able to send the finest stringer around: CharlieHog, one of the proprietors of the excellent HogNation site and all-around Razorback expert. Many, many thanks to Charlie for taking the time to compile and send us the following report. Without further ado ...
"Well...I'm not very good at analyzing practices/scrimmages, especially basketball, but here goes...
An okay crowd, everything considered. A few Hog calls. A spontaneous echo (Arkansas-Razorbacks) cheer erupted right before the team was going to be announced. Loudest cheered were Steven Hill, Patrick Beverley and Coach Pelphrey.
Steven Hill has a full beard. And it. Is. Glorious.
They scrimmaged for 20 minutes. Red team was Marcus Britt, Sonny Weems, Darian Townes, Stefan Welsh, Charles Thomas, and Nate Rakestraw. White was Steven Hill, Gary Ervin, Patrick Beverley, Michael Sanchez, Levan Patsatsia and Vincent Hunter.
Beverley and Ervin took turns running the point for the white team, although Ervin probably ran it more. Marcus Britt ran the point for red. There were a lot of missed shots early so it was hard to get a read on offensive and defensive sets. Both teams played mostly man defense, and both played some full court press. All the returning guys played like we know they can. Everybody was hustling and seemed to be having fun. Britt handled the ball pretty well and had two nice ally-oop/dunk passes, one to Weems and the other to Thomas.
White won the scrimmage 39-37 on a three pointer from Vincent Hunter with about a second left.
It's hard for me to get much from the scrimmage. We all know the returning guys are good, and 20 minutes isn't really enough to get a gauge on anybody else. We've heard all summer about the conditioning, and everybody looked to me to be in great shape. But I wasn't really keeping track of how long everybody played since it's weird to have 20 straight minutes of basketball after being conditioned to have a timeout every four minutes (plus SEC refs calling a foul on every ticky-tack hand check).
After the scrimmage Pelphrey gave a short speech about how anybody that doesn't think Arkansas can win the SEC and compete for a national championship just needs to look up at the banners. He said that Arkansas has had their share of great players and coaches in the past but what makes it a really special place is the fans. (awww we love him and he loves us!)"
(more at www.razorbackexpats.com)