There was a nice piece written recently by Nate Olsen in WHS comparing Mike Anderson’s “fastest 40” to Bobby Huggins at West Virginia and even to Nolan’s teams of years gone by. Many folks say that rule changes have inhibited Anderson’s style of play. Huggins and West Virgninia would likely disagree. For anyone who missed it, hopefully the following link will work:
One comment by the author really stood out to me. “Just like the early 1990s dominant Arkansas teams that Anderson served as an assistant on under Nolan Richardson, the Missouri teams weren’t loaded with NBA stars. However, the players were athletic, tough and could shoot. As a result, the Tigers made a deep tournament run - a kind of run that would be desperately welcome in Fayetteville.”
While the Razorbacks have some athletes and shooters, they have been anything but tough, in my opinion. As with Nolan’s 40 minutes of hell, swarming, tenacious defense and decent rebounding are predicated on desire and toughness. I have no idea what the answer is, but these are Anderson’s players and a fire needs to be lit to make them understand that anything less than a tough, sustained effort will not be tolerated.
It continues to be my belief that Anderson is a good basketball coach. He is also undoubtedly top shelf as a human being. For 5+ years, the majority of Razorback fans have really wanted him to succeed.
Like the author, I would be interested to hear what Anderson would say if posed the question: Why is there such a difference between how your teams at Arkansas play and the other teams you’ve coached, including a good many years as Nolan’s first chair assistant?