Razorbacks Invade Hoover

Mike Anderson

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and senior forward Coty Clarke represented the Razorbacks Thursday at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.

After having their team picked to finish eighth in the preseason SEC poll, Arkansas head coach basketall coach Mike Anderson and senior forward Coty Clarke stepped up at the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., on Thursday.

Both feel like this the season that the Razorbacks take a step forward after going 19-13 overall and 10-8 in league play last season.

"My first year we were losing at home and on the road then last year we lost only one game at home and that was to Syracuse," Anderson said. "We scored 82 points and Syracuse was in the Final Four so that tells me we are going in the right direction.

"Now do you take that same mindset and take it on the road? That's going to be the challenge and chore for this team here and I think we have the right kind of guys to do it," Anderson added.

One of those guys is Clarke, the 6-7 junior college transfer who came into his own the latter half of the season and who is also determined to turn things around on the road this season.

"It's the mental aspect of it," Clarke said. "If you are losing on the road for three-plus years, you automatically think that you are going to lose and you have to change that mindset. "You also have to have better team chemistry because we get away with a lot of mistakes at home, but you can't do that on the road," Clarke added. "You have to take care of the ball on the road and have momentum.

"...We have to be more mentally focused and prepared, not thinking negative but positive, have more team chemistry," Clarke said. "I think that will play a huge part in our road success this year."

Anderson believes that he has a team that fits his style better than the past two seasons.

"We have some guys that epitomize what I am all about," Anderson said. "They are going to go out and play hard and together, an unselfish team."

The Razorbacks have added in 6-6, 230-pound brutish junior forward Alandise Harris, two 6-10 freshmen big men in Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley and 6-3 freshman former Fayetteville High guard Manuale Watkins, an All-Arkansas player from last season.

"You have to have a certain level of toughness when you go out on the road and I feel that this team here (has it) as opposed to last year when we went out on the road and adversity took place," Anderson said.

Arkansas lost its two leading scorers in B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell, but Anderson points to what the roster has gained.

"We lost some good players in BJ and Marshawn who led us in scoring, but our problem wasn't scoring, our problem was defending and rebounding, playing with a sense of urgency and playing with that unselfishness. That's what I want to see."

Anderson has given this edition of the Razorbacks a motto.

"I tagged our guys as "We Hogs" and that's what you are going to see – a team that epitomizes the playing of up-tempo basketball and playing together," Anderson said.

Clarke says practices have been going well.

"They've been good," Clark said. "We've been getting after it with two-a-days for about nine straight days. It's tough and the way we play burns our legs pretty good. Had to get in the cold tub a couple of times, but that's fine.

"They have been really aggressive, the competition level has been picking up and we've been getting after each other and not slacking at all," Clarke added.

Arkansas has an opportunity early in the season to make a statement when he plays in the Maui Invitational beginning with a game against California.

"The Maui Tournament is big for us," Clarke said. "We want to go out there and get to the championship and win it, but it's one game at a time and we have to take care of Cal first.

"...We just have to start out strong, but it is not where you start, it is where you finish," Clarke added. "With that being said, we are looking forward to a great season."

o o o

First Team All-SEC

Trevor RelefordAlabama, G, 6-0, 190, Sr., Kansas City, Mo. 

Julius RandleKentucky, F, 6-9, 250, Fr., Dallas, Texas

Johnny O'Bryant III – LSU, F , 6-9 , 256 , Jr. , Cleveland, Miss.

Marshall HendersonOle Miss, G, 6-2, 177, Sr., Hurst, Texas

Jordan McRaeTennessee, G, 6-6, 185, Sr., Midway, Ga.

 

Second Team All-SEC

Scottie WilbekinFlorida, G, 6-2, 176, Sr., Gainesville, Fla.

Patric Young – Florida, C, 6-9, 240, Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.

Willie Cauley-Stein – Kentucky, F, 7-0, 244, So., Olathe, Kan.

Andrew Harrison – Kentucky, G, 6-6, 215, Fr., Richmond, Texas

Dakari Johnson – Kentucky, C, 7-0, 265, Fr., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jabari BrownMissouri, G, 6-5, 214, Jr., Oakland, Calif.

Jeronne Maymon – Tennessee, F, 6-8, 260, Sr., Madison, Wis.

Jarnell Stokes – Tennessee, F, 6-8, 260, Jr., Memphis, Tenn.

 

SEC Player of the Year: Julius Randle, Kentucky

 

Preseason Media Poll                    Pts



Kentucky (21)................................... 371

Florida (5)........................................ 353

Tennessee (1).................................320

LSU................................................... 270

Missouri........................................... 262

Alabama.......................................... 257

Ole Miss...........................................216

Arkansas..........................................197

Texas A&M...................................... 139

Vanderbilt........................................ 125

Georgia............................................ 119

South Carolina.................................108

Mississippi State..............................59

Auburn............................................... 39

First-Place Votes in Parentheses

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