No Hog rebounds like 6-4 Moncrief

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017
Former Arkansas basketball player Sidney Moncrief speaks with members of the media during Mike Anderson's celebrity golf tournament Monday, May 22, 2017, at Shadow Valley Country Club in Rogers.
Photo by Jason Ivester
Former Arkansas basketball player Sidney Moncrief speaks with members of the media during Mike Anderson's celebrity golf tournament Monday, May 22, 2017, at Shadow Valley Country Club in Rogers.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Nearly 40 years after Sidney Moncrief played his last basketball game for the Arkansas Razorbacks, he remains the program's all-time leader in rebounds.

Not bad for a 6-4 guard.

Moncrief, who starred at Little Rock Hall High School before helping lead the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville to national prominence under Coach Eddie Sutton, finished his career with 1,015 rebounds in 122 games from 1976-1979.

Moncrief also was the Razorbacks' career scoring leader with 2,066 points -- he's now No. 2 behind Todd Day's 2,395 -- but said among his individual achievements at Arkansas, his favorite is leading the rebounding list.

"There have been a lot of players a lot bigger than me," Moncrief said this week when he was in Northwest Arkansas to play in Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson's charity golf tournament. "So to still be the top rebounder in the history of the Razorbacks, that's the record I'm most proud of."

Moncrief, a four-year starter, averaged between 7.6 and 9.6 rebounds each season.

"I saw Sidney outfight guys for rebounds that were much bigger and could jump just as high -- if not higher -- than he could," said Jim Counce, who played three seasons with Moncrief. "But Sidney got the ball because he had more want-to and more strength and could get to the ball quicker."

Former Arkansas assistant coach Pat Foster recruited Moncrief and was on the Razorbacks' staff before becoming a head coach at Lamar, Houston and Nevada.

"Sidney would always go the basket," Foster said. "He didn't take plays off.

"Some guys might drift out looking for an outlet pass or maybe do nothing -- just stand and watch. Sidney never did that. He went after every ball. He was the most tenacious athlete I've ever been around."

Dean Tolson, 6-8, averaged 13.2 rebounds in three seasons at Arkansas -- with 845 total in 72 games from 1972-1974 -- for the highest career per game average for the Razorbacks.

Moncrief's 8.3 career rebounding average is tied for second best at Arkansas with 7-foot Joe Kleine, who had 806 rebounds from 1983-1985.

"Flat-out toughness," Moncrief said of his approach to rebounding. "Just wanting the basketball."

Counce said Moncrief was a quick jumper who could handle physical play around the basket.

"There are a lot of guys that can jump high and go for a rebound when there's not a crowd around," Counce said. "But being able to jump quickly is a much greater asset than being able to jump high, because if you have to gather yourself to go after a rebound, other guys that can jump more quickly are already up there and have their hands on the ball.

"So being able to jump quickly was a great asset for Sidney. He also was the strongest player I ever played with or against. Sidney could operate in a crowd. It didn't bother him to get bumped around a little bit."

Foster said Moncrief benefited from being quicker than other players when it came to a second jump attempt for a rebound.

"Very seldom do you see a guy be as quick on the second jump, but Sidney was right back up there again," Foster said. "I think the second jump was even more important a lot of times."

Instincts figured into Moncrief's rebounding prowess.

"Sidney had great anticipation for where the ball was coming off the rim," said Counce, an Arkansas assistant coach before becoming a heart surgeon. "Rather than jumping and reaching for the ball, he would be moving while the ball was in the air and getting his feet to where he was directly underneath the basketball so he could jump vertically for it, which is an important rebounding concept."

Derek Hood, 6-8, is the only Razorback who has made a serious run at Moncrief's rebounding record. He had 1,002 rebounds -- 13 fewer than Moncrief -- in 131 games from 1996-1998 to rank second on Arkansas' all-time list.

Corliss Williamson, a 6-7 two-time All-American for the Razorbacks from Russellville, had 647 rebounds in 91 games from 1993-1995. He missed 13 games as a freshman because of a foot injury and declared for the NBA Draft -- going No. 13 in the first round to the Sacramento Kings -- after his junior season.

Bobby Portis, from Little Rock Hall, had 551 rebounds in 70 games over two seasons from 2014-2015 before declaring for the draft and being the No. 22 pick in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.

Moncrief said he never expected to still be Arkansas' career leader in rebounds, but now it seems unlikely his record will be broken considering players with the skills to do it will leave early for the NBA.

"They won't be around long enough," Moncrief said.

The Milwaukee Bucks made Moncrief the No. 5 pick in the first round of the 1979 draft at a time when players seldom left college early to turn pro.

"I coached in the NBA, so I can say this from experience that you get kids in now that go early and they don't have the fundamentals and they're not trained the right way," said Moncrief, a former assistant for the Bucks and Golden State Warriors. "You're trying to coach them like they were in high school.

"I think I would have been missing the fundamentals if I'd left college after one year. Or two years. Even three years. Staying four years at Arkansas was a huge benefit for me."

Arkansas’ career rebounding leaders

PLAYER, YEAR TOTAL

  1. Sidney Moncrief, 1976-1979 1,015
  2. Derek Hood, 1996-1999 1,002
  3. Oliver Miller, 1989-1992 886
  4. Dean Tolson, 1972-1974 845
  5. Joe Kleine, 1983-1985 806
  6. Moses Kingsley, 2014-2017 768
  7. Andrew Lang, 1985-1988 690
  8. Scott Hastings, 1979-1982 680
  9. Todd Day, 1989-1992 673
  10. Mike Washington, 2007-2010 651

Sports on 05/25/2017

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