Thanks Clay and crew....

For the Where Are They Now features in HI magazine.

I always look forward to catching up on former Hogs.

Nate Allen and I split those up during the year. They are always fun to do. The next one is on Marvin Delph.

I’ve read the Marvin Delph story, too, and it’s fantastic. I talked with Nate for 10-15 minutes about it yesterday as I was leaving Bud Walton Arena.

I gave that assignment to Nate. I really wanted to do it myself.

So here is the back story on Marvin and me. I was the sports editor at the Conway Log Cabin Democrat during Marvin’s time at Arkansas. My brother Butch was the SID at Arkansas during that time.

We had an afternoon daily paper then at the Log Cabin. I wanted a story after every game with Marvin’s comments. I asked Butch if I could call Marvin each morning. Both Eddie Sutton and Butch said okay, as long as it was fine with Marvin. Marvin said let’s do it.

So every morning after the game I’d call Marvin at 7:30 a.m. in the dorm. He answered every time. He always had just eaten breakfast. We talked for 10 minutes. So I ran a diary of Marvin’s games for the entire time he played at Arkansas. It was a wonderful feature.

Also, I helped plan a banquet to honor Marvin after his time at Arkansas. We filled up the cafeteria at Conway Junior High.

I thought of a novel way to decorate the tables. I built two pages of stories about Marvin, with interviews from Eddie Sutton and C. D. Taylor. C.D. was Marvin’s high school coach at Conway.

So we printed one continuous strip of newsprint with those two pages of stories and rolled them up as they came off our printing press at the Log Cabin. That was displayed as one continuous table cloth. It went down one side, then back up the other on every table.

C.D. Taylor was the featured speaker. When he got up to speak, he said, “OK, we can make this short. Read Clay’s story. That was going to be my speech but he already printed it and I think most of you have already read it.”

Then, C. D. pretty much delivered exactly what I’d written. People would look up at C. D., then down at the table cloth.

I had an interview with Marvin, too. He got up to thank everyone and started it the same way. “Everyone has already read my speech. Clay wrote it already.” The place roared with laughter and then Marvin pretty much delivered the same lines he’d given to me the previous week.

It sure was a lot of fun for a young reporter. Remember, I was age 22-24 during that time when Marvin played at Arkansas.

One of the tough days was getting the phone call one afternoon from Joe Graham, the Conway High basketball coach, that Ulysses Delph had died at practice. I had covered him as a junior high player. Most thought he was of the same caliber of Marvin. Very tough day.

I can tell Marvin Delph stories until the cows come home. He is a special person.

One of my favorites was going over to UCA to watch Marvin give a clinic at Don Nixon’s camp. Now Marvin spent most of his time at the Hendrix gym because it was closer to his home. But he was good to give clinics anytime someone wanted him to come.

The high school and junior high kids from all over Faulkner County were seated on the sideline. Marvin went out to midcourt with a rack of basketballs. He hit 10 straight from halfcourt with his normal motion. Marvin had a sort of sling shot motion where he took the ball behind his head and then it came forward. It was not a traditional shot. In fact, Nate’s story details how Eddie Sutton wanted to change it the first time he saw Marvin at practice at Barnhill. Marvin said, “Does it go in? OK, then why should I change it?” Eddie said basically good point and it never came up again.

Marvin’s range was unlimited. You guarded him at 20 feet, he moved to 25. If you guarded him there, he’d back up another 3-5 feet. It didn’t matter. I think his range was solid at 35 feet, although no one ever saw him shoot from there in games. I did at UCA, Hendrix and Conway High gyms. It was unreal.

Thank you Clay. These are the insights that make HI priceless for folks of my generation that followed Hog sports daily. I can’t wait to read Nate’s piece on Marvin.

We owe a debt of gratitude for the Triplets. They built the foundation for Hog basketball national prominence. Great memories.

Wow…great stuff Clay and I am certain there is a ton more. Loved The Triplets and being a part of it when I was growing up in Fayetteville especially because I was a ball boy during this time. I got a TON of up close and personal game moments as I had to sit right behind the padding of the goal and run out and wipe up the sweat after every possession that was on my end of the court. Somewhere in my “memories” boxes from when I was a kid I believe I still have a Sydney Moncrief knee brace he gave me after a huge win…I think it was against Houston if memory serves me right. Loved those days and loved being able to interact with the players during that time, treated me like part of the team and so did Coach Sutton.

My best friend in high school (Springdale) was a 6’3" forward and could jump like crazy. We played against Delph and I’ll never forget him catching a pass in the deep corner and my friend having about two steps to take and jump to attempt to block the shot. Barely clipped his elbow. The look on my buddy’s face was one of both wonder and awe. Delph killed us the entire game. My buddy said he was the best pure shooter and the smoothest player he ever played against. If he’d played when the 3 point shot was around he would have set all kinds of records I’m sure. A sheer joy to watch.

Marvin was the best pure shooter I ever saw. I know some say Alex Dillard. No, it was Marvin.

Isaiah Joe is good, too. It’s a different game now than it was when Marvin played. Different in that most contest the long jumper better. Remember, it was worth two points then. That’s a whole different thing than now when it’s two. But Marvin would play now and score a bunch of points. He was also a very good rebounder.

If the 3 point shot had been in effect during Delph’s time at UofA. Eddie would have at least 1 NC.

Ron Brewer would have shot more had there. Even a 3 pt line. And Sidney would have had more room on the baseline. That was a terrific team.