Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Mayberry joining UA staff while finishing degree
Former University of Arkansas standout Lee Mayberry before the Arkansas vs Michigan in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.
FAYETTEVILLE A former Arkansas basketball great will help assist the Razorbacks this season.
Lee Mayberry is working with the program as a student assistant coach while he completes his undergraduate degree in American Studies. Mayberry, who last took a college class while a student in 1992, is about 40 credit hours shy of graduation and said he hopes to complete his degree requirements by the end of next summer.
Returning to Arkansas became a possibility when the school brought back several of its lettermen for a Final Four reunion earlier this year. Mayberry said a conversation with Scotty Thurman, the program's director of student development, got things rolling.
"My wife has been on me about finishing up my degree," Mayberry said. "I was thinking there was an opportunity there as far as coaching and the next thing you know Coach (Mike) Anderson gave me an opportunity while I'm finishing up. Everything just seems like it's working out.
"I'm excited to be able to be around a college basketball program, especially my alma mater, to learn and give back to the guys what I've learned over the course of my playing career and scouting. Hopefully it all works out and everybody is a success story."
Mayberry played for Arkansas from 1988-92, helping the Razorbacks to the 1990 Final Four. He, Todd Day and Oliver Miller were perhaps Arkansas' greatest recruiting class ever, compiling a career record of 115-24 and winning conference championships all four seasons, including one during the school's first year in the SEC.
The Tulsa native ranks as the school's third all-time leading scorer with 1,940 career points. His 291 career steals are still the most ever by an Arkansas player and he is second in program history with 729 career assists.
"Any way I can help, whether it's with someone's ball handling or someone's shooting, or encouraging guys, I want to be a sponge and give back whatever I can," Mayberry said.
Mayberry was a first round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1992. He spent seven years in the NBA playing for the Bucks and Vancouver Grizzlies, and later worked three years as a scout for the Golden State Warriors.
Since 2000, Mayberry has coached an AAU team in Tulsa. His oldest daughter Taleya was an all-conference point guard at Tulsa and another daughter, Kaylan, is a sophomore basketball player at Oral Roberts.
Mayberry said he has three other daughters who are entering the Fayetteville Public School system this year.
The 44-year-old Mayberry was inducted into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor in 2004 and into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson was an assistant at Arkansas during Mayberry's playing career.
"I've played at a professional level, but I didn't finish up school," Mayberry said. "I want to encourage these guys to finish up. I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can come back to school but a lot of guys don't get the opportunity that I'm getting.
"A lot of these guys have NBA dreams and there are other leagues in other countries where you can go and make good money, but at the end of the day being a student-athlete, I would encourage these guys to finish up while chasing that dream."