Todd Day Disappointed He’s Still Not a Hogs Assistant

“I am a little salty that I’m not on the Razorbacks staff.”

Todd Day, the University of Arkansas’ three-time All-American, recently opened up to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about his desire to be an assistant in the Hogs’ basketball program. I spoke to Day right after Mike Anderson was hired as the Hogs’ head basketball coach in 2011, and even then he was excited about the chance of one day soon joining Anderson’s staff.

As an assistant to Nolan Richardson, Anderson had recruited Day out of Memphis in 1988. Day joined fellow stars Oliver Miller and Lee Mayberry to help lead Arkansas to the 1990 Final Four while finishing his career two years later as the program’s all-time leading scorer. At the time I spoke to Day about coaching with Arkansas, he had two years of experience as the head coach of Memphis Academy of Health and Sciences.

Since then, Day’s padded his resume by coaching three more years at Memphis Academy, then coaching his alma mater Memphis Hamilton for a couple years (he won a state championship) and coaching Team Penny on the AAU circuit (where I spoke to him about Malik Monk).

Along the way, Day talked to Mike Anderson at various times about assistant jobs, he told the Democrat-Gazette’s Troy Schulte. The conversations never led anywhere. “I am a little salty that I’m not on the Razorbacks staff,” Day told Schulte. “It’s my school. Those are my guys. Coach A is my guy. I’m not salty at them. I’m just salty at the situation.”

That’s a helluva lotta sodium chloride, folks. I sure hope he’s drinking plenty of fluids with it.

One thing Day doesn’t mention, but may also add salt to the situation, is the fact that Lee Mayberry is on the Razorbacks staff as a “special assistant” to Mike Anderson despite the fact he has less varied coaching experience than Day. Mayberry, a former NBA scout, had coached an AAU team in Tulsa since 2000, but apparently hadn’t coached high school basketball like Day has.

Day’s Coaching Career

  • Arkansas Impact (2008)
  • Memphis Academy of Health and Sciences (2009-2014)
  • Memphis Hamilton High School (2014-2016)
  • Philander Smith (2016-present)

It should be emphasized that Day has always spoken very highly of his friend Mayberry. It’s pure speculation on my part Day may feel a little extra salty he hasn’t been able to carve out a spot on the Razorbacks staff in light of the fact Mayberry has become a special assistant to Anderson. I have never spoken to Day or anybody on the Razorback staff about this.

Day is currently coaching at Philander Smith College in Little Rock. His stepfather, Ted Anderson, advised him to use the NAIA school as a springboard to bigger college positions.

Anderson said he told Day: “Build that program right there, take that from ground zero and take it as high as you can take it. Do it with class and dignity, and you’ll be recognized for it.” For now, Day’s invested in his Philander Smith team, which sits at 9-9. He told Schulte last summer he even turned down an interview for an assistant spot on the staff of Tulane, where his former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. now coaches.

Will Day one day get his dream of a Razorback coaching spot?

That’s unknown.

What is known is that any coaching position with the Razorbacks basketball program is, on the whole, losing prestige year by year. That trend was hammered home in a 28-point loss on the road yesterday to a 2-6 conference Oklahoma State team. The Hogs had few excuses. They were playing at full strength health wise and coming off 4 straight SEC wins. They should played better, and with more effort and have been competitive. Instead, they produced a lackluster, sloppy, uncoordinated defensive effort that resulted in the Cowboys repeatedly shredding them from the outside and getting to the basket on open drives seemingly at will.

Whenever Arkansas’ foe has a top-flight point guard, and the game is on a neutral or away court, these eviscerations happen with alarming predictability. They are, in part, the result of poor execution on defensive switching — or, rather, the lack of any plan whatsoever on how to guard perimeter pick and roll action.

That lack of planning is an indictment of the Razorbacks’ coaching staff. If Day one day officially interviews for his dream job, he needs to make his former coach uncomfortable by pointing out the oversights which have hurt the brand of the program he had a hand in building.

 

Bobby Portis [Had] a Shot at Greatest Junior Season In Razorback History

 Bobby Portis retweeted this over the weekend.  

Without question, Corliss Williamson had the greatest sophomore season in Arkansas Razorback basketball history. No other Arkansas player may ever match his quad-fecta accomplishment of 1) SEC Player of the Year  2) Second Team All-American 3) National Champion and 4) Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament. While knocking out the last two deeds, though, Big Nasty might could have left the door open for his protege, Bobby Portis, to surpass him in junior year greatness.

In the 1994 NCAA championship game against Duke, Williamson broke his left, nonshooting wrist, an injury that wasn’t detected until a month later. This meant Williamson couldn’t lift the weights he’d thrived on since high school. For the first time since fifth grade, he didn’t play full-time in the summer, as sportswriter Paul McMullen wrote in 1995:

Williamson sat at home last summer and got fat. There was a day in his honor in Russellville, Ark., and many Big Nasty Combo Platters at a family restaurant owned by cousins. All those bacon cheeseburgers, fries and sodas added 40 pounds to a 6-foot-7 frame that is at its best when he weighs 245. Even if I didn’t have a cast on my hand, I was going to rest last summer,” said Williamson, who withdrew from the U.S. Goodwill Games team, “but I wasn’t able to develop my game at the pace I wanted. That hindered me a little early in the season…

It showed. In an early season matchup with John Calipari’s Massachusetts, Minuteman forward Lou Roe ate up “Big Nasty” in a 104-80 romp by the Minutemen. Roe had 34 points and 15 rebounds, Williamson 15 and seven. “He had been embarrassed before a national television audience,” McMullen wrote.

In the end, as you see below, Williamson’s junior year numbers slightly decreased from the year before:

Corliss

Via basketball-reference.com

This kind of dip is would have been unlikely from Portis, who in terms of individual stats has had the greatest first two seasons season at Arkansas since Williamson, as the numbers below show:

Portis has partially matched his long-time mentor by securing an SEC Player of the Year award and second-team All American honors as a sophomore. Williamson’s slow start in 1994-95, combined with the increased double and triple teams he saw, gives Portis a shot at surpassing Big Nasty in terms of junior year production.

Barring injury, the prediction here is Portis likely averages around 19 points and nine rebounds next season. With the addition of a star recruit Jimmy Whitt and Ted Kapita, along with the addition of transfer Dusty Hannahs and development of Anton Beard, he would not face would not have faced as much triple-teaming as a junior as Williamson did.

If Portis soon declares he is returning, If Portis had returned, he would have immediately become a front-runner for numerous 2015-16 national player of the year awards. There are six such major awards, and no Razorback has ever won one. He would also likely battle have likely battled the likes of LSU’s Ben Simmons and Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer for a spot on the  AP’s first-team All American team – which would be a notch up from Williamson’s junior year repeat of second team.

[OK, by now you get that I originally wrote this before Portis announced his decision to go pro. That should explain the language in the rest of the piece]

Continue reading Bobby Portis [Had] a Shot at Greatest Junior Season In Razorback History

Mike Beebe, Todd Day & Ron Brewer at the inaugural Mike Conley, Jr. All-Star Classic

 

Here are some scenes from Thursday night’s Real Deal in the Rock event featuring all-star teams from Arkansas and Tennessee. Tennessee won 81-78. Stay tuned for an upcoming piece in Sporting Life Arkansas for details and video on Razorback signees Nick Babb and Trey Thompson.

Rep. Reginald Murdock (Marianna) points while Gov. Mike Beebe and Real Deal co-founder Bill Ingram look on
Rep. Reginald Murdock (Marianna) points while Gov. Mike Beebe and Real Deal co-founder Bill Ingram look on
20140417_200707
Former Razorback All-American Todd Day (L) shakes hands with Arkansas signee Nick Babb. Day, a Memphis native, was coach of the Tennessee All-Star team.
20140417_211212
Coach Ron Brewer gives some pointers to all-state Daryl Macon of Parkview.
20140417_212359
Razorback signee Anton Beard sure would have helped the Arkansas All-Star team on Thursday night, but said he couldn’t play because he’d already committed to two other All-Star games.
20140417_200655
Former Razorback All-American Ron Brewer coached the Arkansas All-Star team. Here, he’s giving love to Davell Roby, a Tennessee player who will play for Saint Louis University.

Comparing Hog Freshmen to the Best First-year Classes in Program History

Have B.J. Young and his frosh teammates risen to meet standards set by the likes of Sidney Moncrief, Todd Day and Scotty Thurman? Courtesy: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Seldom does an Arkansas freshman class enter the season with as many expectations as this year’s quartet of B.J. Young, Hunter Mickelson, Rashad Madden and Devonta Abron. Rarely are they needed to play as urgently as this group, which – following a summer of transfers and winter of injuries – now makes up half of Arkansas’ eight scholarship players.

But there is precedent.

In previous eras, new Razorbacks have made substantial splashes, kicking off the most celebrated three-year runs in program history. In the mid-1970s, the “Triplets,” three Arkansas natives within two years of each other, got it rolling for Eddie Sutton. The next two waves came under Nolan Richardson, and formed the nuclei of three Final Four appearances in the 1990s.
As a whole, this year’s freshmen haven’t played as many minutes as their predecessors. Expect that to change soon, though. As senior Michael Sanchez recovers from a shoulder injury, Mickelson and Abron will play more. Already, the new guys are setting records – Mickelson has blocked more shots than any previous Arkansas freshman, and these Hogs have won 17 home games, the most in program history.

Still, the Razorbacks lost their first seven games outside of Arkansas. Each of the previous celebrated freshmen classes had won at least three road games by this point in the season. By their second years, they led teams among the nation’s best on the road. Sure, the anticipated return of a healthy Marshawn Powell next season helps. But if this year’s freshmen wait until then to start living up to their predecessors’ standards, it will be too late. Their legacy won’t be determined by how many hearts they can win in their own arena. It will be set by how many are broken in other arenas.

Player

First season

Points per game

FG%

FT%

Rebounds per game

Minutes per game

Games

M. Delph

1974-75

6.2

50%

81%

2.5

N/A

26

R. Brewer*

1975-76

11.9

58%

75%

3.8

N/A

28

S. Moncrief

1975-76

12.6

67%

73%

7.6

N/A

28

1975-76 record through 25 games: 17-8
1975-76 record outside of Arkansas thru 25 games: 3-7
1976-77 overall record: 26-2
1977-78 overall record: 32-4