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.
Anderson challenges Razorbacks to attack boards
Arkansas forward Alandise Harris (2) drives to the basket past Kentucky forward Julius Randle during the first half of play Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas appears to be in the wrong place to try to rebound from its latest road loss.
Tennessee, which plays host to Arkansas at 7 tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, has a plus-12.5 rebounding margin in four SEC games to lead the conference. Arkansas has a minus-10.8 margin in SEC games to rank last of 14 teams.
“Hopefully, we can meet somewhere in between there,” said Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson, whose team is 2-20 in road games in his three seasons. “But we’ll play better.”
Georgia out rebounded Arkansas 56-34 in the Bulldogs’ 66-61 overtime victory last Saturday; Tennessee out rebounded Kentucky 39-24 while losing to the Wildcats 74-66 at Rupp Arena.
Volunteers junior Jarnell Stokes and senior Jeronne Maymon, both listed at 6-8 and 260 pounds, combined for 20 rebounds against a Kentucky lineup that included 7-footers Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson and 6-9 Julius Randle.
“They had their way with us,” Kentucky assistant coach John Robic said. “They were space-eaters inside that were really, really physical. We got our butts beat on the glass.”
Kentucky bullied Arkansas on the boards last Tuesday night in Fayetteville, out rebounding Arkansas 50-32 in the Razorbacks’ 87-85 overtime victory at Walton Arena.
Arkansas has a minus-40 rebound margin in its past two games.
“I mean, it’s like, ‘What are we doing?” Arkansas senior forward Coty Clarke said after the Georgia game. “You’ve got to box out, put your knees on them and drive them out.”
Stokes had 15 rebounds at Kentucky and is averaging 12.3 rebounds in SEC games to lead the conference. Maymon is averaging 8.3 rebounds in conference games to rank fifth.
“We spend time working on rebounding,” Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin said. “We have two of the better big-guy rebounders in all of college basketball and they take pride in it. They do a great job of positioning their bodies. Both have good footwork.”
Anderson said he’s planning to use different personnel in an attempt to boost the Razorbacks’ rebounding, giving more playing time to 6-10 freshman Moses Kingsley and 6-8 sophomore Jacorey Williams. He said there is also a strong possibility he’ll play 6-10 freshman Bobby Portis - who is averaging a 7.8 rebounds in SEC games - and Kingsley together.
“You’ll see more of the blue-collar guys on the floor,” Anderson said.
Anderson said more rebounds are needed from 6-6 junior Alandise Harris, who redshirted last season after transferring from Houston.
“I just don’t think he’s playing up to his capability,” Anderson said of Harris, who is averaging 2.5 rebounds in SEC play. “That’s not acceptable, not for a guy of Alandise’s stature.”
Anderson talked often before the season about the toughness Harris would provide the Razorbacks.
“It just seems like he’s a little hesitant,” Anderson said. “We’ve got to get that hesitancy out of him so he can be a factor on our basketball team.
“I just know he has a lot more in him.”
Clarke is averaging 7.3 rebounds in SEC play, but he fouled out of the past two games and didn’t play in overtime against Kentucky or Georgia.
“He got maybe one or two fouls just not moving his feet,” Anderson said, “but a lot of them are trying to fix and recover for other guys that are not putting bodies on people.”
Anderson said the Razorbacks need more rebounding help from their guards, especially against the Vols’ 6-6 wings Jordan McRae and Josh Richardson.
“Rebounding, to me, is all about want-to,” Anderson said. “How bad do you want it? … It takes maximum effort by everybody.”
The Razorbacks got that kind of effort in their 84-82 overtime loss to Florida, when they out rebounded the Gators 45-44 and had 20 offensive rebounds.
“We got annihilated on the offensive glass,” Florida Coach Billy Donovan said.
The Razorbacks have been getting annihilated in rebounding since then.
“Consistency is the key,” Anderson said. “Guys doing it night in and night out.”
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette staff writer Tom Murphy contributed information for this article.
Arkansas men at Tennessee WHEN 7 p.m. Central today WHERE Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.
TV KATV, Channel 7, in Little Rock; KHBS/ KHOG, Channels 40/29, in Northwest Arkansas; KAIT, Channel 8, in Jonesboro
Sports, Pages 17 on 01/22/2014