Coaching or the Players

Just curious as to what you guys think it will take to get us back to the caliber of the teams we had in the 70, 80’s and throughout the 90’s. The Hogs were always a well respected team outside of the state during most of the Sutton and Richardson years. I was in school there during the back to back trips to the finals. The games were awesome to amazing back then. I remember when the team started to take that slow downhill turn every since the NCAA’s botched Sunday Adebayo fiasco. After Nolan, we went through the painful years, and I thought after signing coach Mike that things were on the right track. I was truly excited about the hire. He is a protege of Nolan, he has won everywhere he has gone, so he seems to know what he is doing. We have gotten some good recruits over the past couple years. This year he pulled in top Juco guys, next years class seems to be strong, and we have gotten commitments from the entire starting 5 of the Hawks. We are getting better, but I remember when the NCAA tournament was pretty much a given. For the past several years we are holding our breath to even get in.

I love the Hogs, I really like coach Mike, and I believe in many of our players. Let me say…this post is not meant to be a negative post, but more of a gaining of perspective from some of the bloggers on here that really know the ins and outs of basketball. What do you think it is? Is it the coaching? Is it the type of player we are recruiting? Is it the lack of a commanding leader on the team? Curious to see what you guys think and what you think it will take to get us back to consistently being a top 10 or at least top 25 team. If we don’t make the NCAA this year, do you think coach will be on the hot-seat? or has he hit with enough recruit commitments to keep him safe for another year or two.

We need great players that the NBA thinks really aren’t that good.

It is always a combination of coaching and talented players. Never either or or in my opinion.

But I want to shoot a question back to you.

Hogs had a nice year in 2014-15. 27 wins, more than number of wins we had since 1995, second place finish in SEC, SEC POY and second round NCAA finish. That was the first time Hogs reached second round since 1998. Through that season, Mike’s team had improved its record every year and everything was trending up. We were reaching that combination of coaching and players we need. Do you think if Portis and Qualls had returned, the upward trend would have continued and Hogs would be relevant nationally right now?

Yeah. I definitely think it would have helped. It always hurts when your best players leave early. We see it in football too. The years I referenced, players typically stayed 3 or 4 years if I remember which definitely added to the success. The 14-15 season seems to be one of the only ones in the past 15 years or so that seemed to make a genuine run. Other top schools have seemed to stay relevant for the most part. For many years we were at least in the discussion with many of the top basketball schools. The UNLV’s, Umass’s, etc are schools that had nice 2-5 year runs and then dropped off, but we were good for a long time, and have now been reduced to mostly middle of the pack. I just can’t wait to get back there. Post was more to see if people think we are on the right track, or might have a longer road to get back to that level.

Point guard is a very important position in college basketball lately. First step is to get the point guard, and Arkansas has not done that in a long, long time.

Second step is to get the low post player, somebody who is a high % scoring option in the halfcourt, strengthens rebounding, and is not pushed around on defense. The low post player is a key target for the point guard.

Third step is to get the wing player, versatile inside and out, who can pose matchup problems and make outside shots. Must be tall and rangy enough to defend against forwards, but bring guard-like skills.

After that, fill in with guards and forwards. Must balance shooting, driving and defending.

Shotblocking comes in handy around the basket. It’s an advantage to have a mix of widebodies and leapers.

At point guard, you can go for a star player, but at least you need someone who can match up on defense against really quick PGs. The star is very helpful, though.

On the wing, you don’t have to have a Dontae’ Jones or Ravern Johnson. Look how much OU got out of Buddy Hield, a 6-4, 214 swingman. Josh Hart of Villanova (6-5) is his team’s MVP. Malcolm Brogdon (6-5) of Virginia was his team’s best player last season. Be versatile on the wing, and the team gets much better.

To touch on last season - if all had gone right, Arkansas could have started Portis, Kingsley/Williams, Qualls, Bell/Hannahs, and Beard/Durham.

That team would have had serious depth, with Whitt and Watkins at guard, Thompson and Miles up front to go with the above.

A LOT of crap went wrong. Williams ejected, Beard suspended half the season, Portis and Qualls out early.

Williams wasn’t popular, but he was improving. At MTSU, he’s killing it this season, had 27 points in his last game.

Last year’s team lost 10 close games. It’s conceivable that the Hogs could have made the NCAAT, had only Qualls returned. They were not that far away.

I hadn’t followed Williams at MTSU. I didn’t realize he was doing that well. Would have been nice to get these guys back last year. I agree

Not true, they went 1-1 in the NCAAT in 07-08 season (Pel’s 1st year)

Players, Players, Players, Coaching. 75-25%

starts with the coach.

build it they will come

i love mike.

we have been severely hurt by early departure and by losing instate players

afraid his seat warming

14-4 and his seat is warming? Man, y’all would fire Santa Claus if the presents got a tiny bit soot-stained coming down the chimney.

I agree with you Swine, but in their defense, let me quote the Associated Press article from last night about our win:

“Texas A&M: The Aggies can kiss their hopes for a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament goodbye, considering in a desperation game they didn’t beat a middling SEC opponent in College Station.” … =400910592

I saw that, but that was by an AP writer out of Houston, with the typical Texas disdain for Arkansas. And it’s not wrong at this point. We’re 7th in a 14-team league right now. That’s pretty much the definition of middling. But A&M is next to last.

I’m definitely not on board with wanting to get rid of Coach Mike at this point in the season. I see that kind of stuff and think its kind of silly. My initial starting post was more of a …“Do you think he will be on the hot seat if he doesn’t end up making the tournament this season?” or Do you think the recruits that he already has committed will buy him another couple of years. I am excited about these future guys, but I seem to say that every year. I am just ready for another dominate team. I know ultimately we all are.

I’m not sure, I said beginning of the year, I expected this team to win 22. I don’t believe 22 will get us in (yes I know there is more to it than wins, but wins are actually the most important factor). That said, I believe 22 wins will give us a Top 2 seed in the NIT. I think we can make a deep run in the NIT. Not sure we wouldn’t be a one and done in the NCAAT. I actually made the comment earlier that this season reminds me of Nolan’s second year. An improving team that has major talent coming in and you can see what’s gonna happen if we stay the course. Many have said no NCAAT and he should be fired, others said give him a chance. Some, still believe we are a definite NCAAT team. I do think we will win more than 22 now, and think that the NCAAT is a very strong possibility. I also think the SEC may get 5/6 teams in, despite Wally’s article from earlier. For those that are saying who? KY, Florida, USCe, AR, GA, (currently the five Lunardi has either in or just out) and either Ole Miss (currently 44 RPI, GA is 43) or Miss St (I think you’ll see them start stacking up wins and make a serious run).

i love mike and i do not want him fired
certainly not now.

just saying that his seat is warming up
im not lighting the fire under it
just observing

OK, here’s my counter-observation:

Just because people bitch about a coach on a message board does not mean a coach is on the hot seat. There’s only one person who can warm Mike Anderson’s seat, or Bret Bielema’s. That person is Jeff Long. Now if ticket sales and contributions start falling off, that could light the fire; that’s what helped send Stan Heath out of town. But ticket sales are up compared to last year, and the average will go even higher through the final six home games; there are no Austin Peays left on the BWA slate.

In todays game its the players mostly, just look at Ky, Cal has the top recruiting class year in and out. His best coaching attribute is marketing his program, whatever that may entail - ($ plus exposure ?), not his super coaching skills like a John Wooden who got the best players in the land, but also coached them fundamentally into much better players. He also had the beneifit of keeping players 4 years and freshman weren’t eligible then and could be developed properly.

MA had one recruiting class where not a single player was still on board after J Whitt departed, that left a big void that couldn’t be filled with early departures after a good season. You could say some of that is on the coaching ie recruiting aspect.

Bottom line - you have the talent, you win.

The 8 that are coming are a great start

I agree. I am really excited to see some of these guys on the college level. I also love the fact that many of them have been playing with each other already for many years. Would be great to get back on the up.