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College Preview | Top 144 Previews | More Interviews

By Shawn Siegel

August 8th, 2006


Arkansas Basketball: Stan Heath


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 basketball.




Shawn 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 productive.



CHN: Discuss all the incoming players. Who will make the biggest impact?

SH:  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.



CHN: What 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.


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).



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 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.



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).

Have 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.

CHN: Good luck this season coach.

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