Excitement has once again swarmed the state of Arkansas. With the hiring of new Men’s Basketball coach, Eric Musselman, the state of Arkansas has linked arms in agreement that Razorback Basketball will be trending upwards with this hire.
Fans thought that the long 12 day wait between the ousting of Mike Anderson and hiring of Musselman meant that Athletic Director, Hunter Yurachek had dropped the ball on a trendy hire. What Yurachek displayed was class as he had his plan and knew who his man was from the get go. Yurachek is a basketball guy, from a basketball family, former college basketball player and all this alone made me know he was well equipped to make a great hire.
As Yurachek opened the press conference, he quickly recognized Mike Anderson and his wife for their dedication to the basketball program throughout their 25 years in Fayetteville. Anderson left Razorback basketball in much better shape than he left it. A program with such rich tradition was soon to have the last nail driven into its coffin before Anderson returned and helped revive the Razorbacks. Although it did not end how anyone would have liked it, Anderson did more good for Arkansas than anyone since Nolan Richardson and was a great ambassador of this university.
Then, Yurachek said he spoke with several coaches around the country about the job opening at Arkansas. He said many replied that it was still a top job in the country and SEC.
“The process felt like an eternity,” said Yurachek.
“It was clear from the first day that Musselman and his family wanted to to in Fayetteville, AR.”
What made Musselman the top candidate for the job? “His passion for the game, developing his players on and off the court, and passion of winning.”
“He is a high energy guy…watch out Chad Morris.” He uses statisitcs and analytics to develop his players like no other coach I have ever see. He wants to continue the winning tradition at the University of Arkansas,” said Yurachek
*Yurachek announces Musselman as head coach. Musselman comes out to the song “Bring ‘Em Out”….what an entrance!*
“I was listening to Hunter talk and he said I wanted to be here…I was so excited that I told my wife I wanted to run 5 miles because I was so excited.”
“I want to thank the entire administration at the University of Nevada for the opportunity and players there for four years that believed in what they were selling,” said Musselman. He hopes these guys (at Arkansas) will buy in like the guys in Nevada.
Musselman mentioned the tradition of Razorback basketball. He knows the desire for a winning program at Arkansas by fans, administration and all those in the country. “As for the tradition it is absolutely incredible,” said Musselman. “You look at the history of Sutton and Richardson it is incredible.” He talked to Corliss Williams and Beverly about how excited he is about being hired at Arkansas. Musselman also mentioned that he talked to Corey Beck at length about the Arkansas job. “I can’t wait to coach on Nolan Richardson Court. The passion of the fans is second to none. We need you, we need the fans!”
“Pace and Space” is what he calls his style of basketball. Musselman says that his style is “a cosmetically pleasing style of play.” This should really help Arkansas’ offense be more fluid. They have a few guards that can create havoc. Isaiah Joe, Mason Jones and Desi Sills should be really excited about the floor spacing they could see this summer. If Khalil Garland is finally cleared, he is another player that contribute largely due to his ability to shoot the rock, quickened and ability to facilitate offense. Jalen Harris will be dishing dimes, too in this offense. The #SpaceAndPace will allow Arkansas to be more efficent offensively but on defense, you should expect to play a lot of zone but you could see guys stuck to their man like glue.
Lastly, Musselman mentioned his goals in his first season at Arkansas. “Come November we hope to be a team that will win a lot of ball games,” said Musselman. “Our goal is to be in the NCAAT Tournament.” When he was announced as the head coach of the Would Pack, Musselman immediately led Nevada to the post season after their nine in season in 2015. In his final three seasons, Nevada went to the NCAA Tournament every year and had one appearance in the Sweet 16.
Arkansas Basketball will continue to trend upwards with this hire. A coach that is goal-driven and has a passion for winning only helps.
Woo Pig, Coach Musselman! Welcome to the state of Arkansas!