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ESPN analyst speculates on Pelphrey’s future

By: 2 March 2011 One Comment

Will John Pelphrey return as the basketball coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks next year?

Doug Gottlieb, an ESPN college basketball analyst, doesn’t think so. In fact, he says Pelphrey’s job will come open and Arkansas will try to fill it with Missouri Coach Mike Anderson. Gottlieb made that declaration while a guest on a radio show at 810 WSB in Kansas City.

Before anyone gets too excited over Gottlieb’s prediction, it’s worth mentioning that the University of Arkansas hasn’t confirmed that Pelphrey’s job is in jeopardy (no one his right mind expects the UA to make such an announcement this time of year, anyway) and the Razorbacks are having an OK season. The team is 18-10 and is coming off of two dramatic victories  — a 57-55 finish at Auburn on Feb. 26 and a 77-76 overtime win against Kentucky on Feb. 23.

Here are a couple of other facts in Pelphrey’s favor. Arkansas is currently in second place behind Alabama in the SEC West with a 7-7 conference record and could well receive a first-round bye in the upcoming Southeastern Conference championship.

Still, it’s hard to deny that the coaching position has rather been in flux since Nolan Richardson left in 2002. Stan Heath never caught on with a large part of the fan base, Dana Altman was named the head coach for about 10 minutes and Pelphrey’s 65-56 record over the past four seasons has caused more than a few Arkansas fans to grumble.

Meanwhile, Anderson is an intriguing choice and was one of Richardson’s assistants for 17 years. That’s right — Anderson was around in 1994 when the Razorbacks beat Duke to win the NCAA championship and was on the court the following year when the Hogs made it to the championship game and lost to UCLA.

In short, who knows what will ultimately happen in the wild world of Arkansas basketball? We’ll likely know more in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Arkansas has a home game against Mississippi State and a road game against Ole Miss next week — if Arkansas can win those, earn the first-round bye in the SEC championship, do well in that series and then win a couple of game sin the NCAA championship, that’ll all look very good for Pelphrey.

We’ll just have to wait and see what comes next, won’t we?

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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