Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Suspended UA players back in fold
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson talks with Alandise Harris, left, and Michael Qualls during the second half of the game against UTSA in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville on Saturday January 4, 2013.
FAYETTEVILLE - The indefinite suspension for Arkansas forwards Michael Qualls and Alandise Harris lasted one game.
Qualls and Harris have been reinstated to the team and will be available to play against Alabama on Wednesday night, Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said Monday.
“We have our full team back,” Anderson said.
Qualls and Harris were suspended for Arkansas’ game at LSU on Saturday - which the Razorbacks lost 88-74 - for what Anderson said was “conduct detrimental to the team.” He hasn’t been specific about what the players did that resulted in their suspension.
Anderson said he met with Qualls and Harris before reinstating them.
“There were some things they had to do, some conditions that they’ve got to meet,” Anderson said. “And, at this point here, they’ve satisfied that. Now we’re ready to move forward.”
Qualls, a 6-6 sophomore, is averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game and he leads the Razorbacks with 48 assists. Harris, a 6-6 junior, is averaging 9.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 19.1 minutes.
“They bring a level of toughness, athletic ability to our basketball team,” Anderson said.
Qualls and Harris resumed practicing with the team on Monday.
“I’m happy they’re back,” senior guard Mardracus Wade said. “I thought they looked really good in practice, and I’m looking forward to them playing the rest of the season.”
“It’s always good to have our teammates back,” senior guard and team captain Kikko Haydar said. “I guess they did what they’re supposed to do, and we’re happy they’re back.”
Anderson said it will be a boost for the Razorbacks (13-8, 2-6 SEC) to have their full roster for the Crimson Tide (9-12, 3-5).
“I think this team is a family,” he said. “Some of their family members didn’t have a chance to play, so that’s huge.”
LSU jumped ahead of Arkansas 26-9 the first 10 minutes of the game as the Razorbacks started 5 of 20 from the field and appeared to be distracted because of their teammates’ suspensions.
Anderson said the full impact of not having Qualls and Harris didn’t hit the Razorbacks until they played LSU.
“We had some pretty good practices, but I just thought going into the game … our guys felt the effects,” Anderson said. “Of course, LSU had something to do with that, too. They were making shots, and we weren’t making shots.
“By halftime, I thought we made some adjustments in terms of getting more aggressive defensively and offensively, and I thought that gave us a nice rhythm in the game.”
Haydar said he’s not sure how much the suspensions of Qualls and Harris affected the Razorbacks against LSU.
“That was between them and Coach, and our job was to go out and play,” Haydar said.
Haydar said Monday’s practice went well.
“Everybody worked hard,” Haydar said. “It was very physical. We’re ready for Alabama.”
Anderson said how much Qualls and Harris play against Alabama will depend on how they continue to do in practice.
“Everybody competes in practice,” Anderson said. “That’s where you get the playing time.”
Sports, Pages 17 on 02/04/2014