There's one thing you have to know about Stan Heath. He
wins. Since taking over at
Arkansas, the Razorbacks steadily improved from 9 to 12 to
18 and finally 22 wins last year. Now in his fifth season,
Heath has to deal with the loss of star Ronnie Brewer to the NBA
Draft as well the graduation of two long-time contributors.
Coach Heath took some time to answer some questions about what
should be an interesting and exciting season for Arkansas
Siegel (CHN) : How will you deal with the losses of your
impressive seniors and Ronnie Brewer to the Draft?
Stan Heath (SH):
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
Discuss all the
incoming players. Who will make the biggest impact?
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.
do you expect the strengths and weaknesses of
this yearís team to be?
SH: 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.
major weakness is compensating for the loss of two great scorers
in (junior) Ronnie Brewer (18.4 ppg) and (senior) Jonathon
CHN: Which of your guys stands out as deserving more credit
than the media or fans give them? Maybe for working
hard in practice, in the workout room, or being leaders on and
off the court:
SH: 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
Charles Thomas (9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .520 FG%) is an unsung hero.
He hustles all the time, takes charges and makes plays.
CHN: What coaches helped you reach the level of
success youíre at today? Do you still keep in touch with them?
SH: 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).
you set any specific goals for this season?
SH: 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.
Good luck this season coach.