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College Preview | Top 144 Previews | More Interviews

By Shawn Siegel

August 8th, 2006


Arkansas Q&A: Stan Heath


There's one thing Discuss all the incoming players for a bit. Who will make the biggest impact?

Dean Keener:  We will have six newcomers - 4 freshmen, 1 junior college transfer and 1 four-year transfer.  It's hard to
predict the future with freshman.  Terrance Carter was a
JUCO All-American at Southeaster CC and has a chance to be an impact player for us.


CHN: How will you deal with the graduation of the seniors?


DK:  We lost 3 seniors.  No one person will replace that experience, but our sophomore group is primed to become very good - Juwann James, Kyle Swanston, Joe Posey, Lew Lampley and Colbey Santos.


CHN: What do you expect the strengths and weaknesses of this yearís team to be?

DK:  The strength of this years team will be versatility.  We will also have big guards/wings relative to our league.  A weakness will be senior leadership.  We will not have a senior on roster.


CHN: Talk for a moment about which of your guys deserve more credit for working hard in practice, in the workout room, and being leaders off the court:


DK:  Juwann James was the CAA Rookie of the year.  He is a very optimistic player.  Kyle Swanston is one of our hardest workers and should have a breakout year.


CHN: What coaches have helped you reach the level of success youíre at today?

DK:  I have been fortunate to play and work for many great coaches.  My high school coach, Jim Maddox, was the first to play a role in my basketball development.  Other such as George Raveling, Bill Foster and Paul Hewitt really touched my way of thinking.

What type of goals have you set for this season?


DK:  As we continue to build this program, we look forward to good things.  We are excited about the foundation that has been laid and hope for good year.

CHN: Thanks for your time Dean.


1) Itís often hard to engage in honest introspection, but what should we expect to be the strengths and weaknesses of next yearís team?


Our strengths this year should be great quickness and speed on the court. Potentially, we can have an outstanding defensive team with (7-0 junior center) Steven Hill (145 career blocked shots) in the paint and (junior) Gary Ervin at the point, and our inside game should be strong.


Our major weakness is compensating for the loss of two great scorers in (junior) Ronnie Brewer (18.4 ppg) and (senior) Jonathon Modica (16.1).


2) Fans often just see what happens during the games, but talk about the players on your roster that deserve more credit for working hard in practice, in the workout room, and being leaders in the locker room:

 Steven Hill (3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 blocks) is the most underrated player on our team. His value on the defensive end is enormous. He brings it every day in practice and heís very consistent. We expect him to step it up on the offensive end.


Charles Thomas (9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .520 FG%) is an unsung hero. He hustles all the time, takes charges and makes plays.

3) Discuss the incoming newcomers.  Who do you think will make the biggest impact?

All of our newcomers have to make in impact, on the perimeter especially. Gary Ervin (transfer from Mississippi State), with his experience in NCAA Tournament play, is a key. Sonny Weems (6-6, 200, 15.7 ppg) had an exceptional junior college career and won a national championship. Patrick Beverley (34.0 ppg) got a lot of attention late and blew up. A guy that has been under the radar screen and will be a solid contributor as well is Stefan Welsh. Michael Washington (6-10, 230) has the most upside of all the kids coming in.


4) How hard will it be to replace the outgoing seniors? Who is ready to take their game to the next level instead?

I donít know how you replace the guys we lost. We had three 1,000-point scorers (Ronnie Brewer, Jonathon Modica, Eric Ferguson). Thatís a heavy load. It canít fall on the shoulders of one or two players. I think we will have to be a different team. Our inside guys need more touches and they need to be productive.



5) What other coaches really helped you reach the level of success youíre at now?  How does their advice and teachings still help you to this day?

 Two coaches have really influenced me. A lot of the things we do are similar to what Tom Izzo does at Michigan State. Jim Larranaga (George Mason) has been a good sounding board for me. Weíve continued to stay in contact with each other (Heath was his assistant at Bowling Green).

6) Realistically, discuss what your goals and hopes are for this season:

 I expect our goals to change throughout the season. We have a lot of short-term goals. In the off-season, we want to develop chemistry and toughness, and become highly-conditioned. We want to do well during the non-conference portion of our season. We want to be strong and protect our home court, and develop a winning mentality on the road. We want to be in the NCAA Tournament. We want to win the league. As we go through the season, weíll identify where we are and set new goals.



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