Here now is the second and final part of our Q&A with Eugene Nash, the late '70s and early '80s walk-on who captured the hearts of Razorback fans like few players before or since. (For Part 1 and a more complete introduction, just click here.) In this installment, Eugene discusses the most painful loss and the most exhilarating win of his Hog career, who would win a game of one-on-one between him and Jimmy Dykes, and why — to paraphrase country singer Mac Davis — happiness means having Lubbock, Texas, in your rear view mirror.
Who were the three best players that you played with at Arkansas?
Oh gosh! It's easy - Sidney Moncrief, no doubt about it. He had the tenacity to be a great player. Maybe not the best shooter, but when the time came, you wanted the ball in his hands and him defending the best player. No doubt him – the distance between him and the rest was pretty far. I think Scott Hastings and U.S. Reed would be the next guys, but Sidney was a good distance ahead of the next group.
A lot of it had to do with Sidney's heart - he had a big heart. He was married at the time and lived off-campus so it was harder to get to know him, but he made an effort to spend time with all of us, invited us over to dinner, things like that. Steve Schall was like that too.
Give us some insight into the personalities on those teams - who was the funniest guy?
I'd say Scott Hastings. He taught you a lot about life in general. He was funny and did stuff you didn't even know was possible.
What was the most enjoyable road trip that the team took? And, conversely, what town did you guys dread visiting?
The place that you really hated to go to was out to Lubbock, to play Texas Tech. That was the only place they sent us out to dinner without curfew - there was nothing to do! We saw one dog walk across the street, that was it.
By 10:00, everything was closed - we'd be back in our rooms early on our own. That was the only place they gave us the keys and just said, "Go get a bite to eat."
Playing in those SWC tournaments in Dallas was always exciting. You always looked forward to that.
<!--more--> What was the most exciting win you experienced as a Razorback? And what was the most heartbreaking loss?
The Louisville game, when U.S. Reed hit the long half-court shot to advance us in the NCAA Tournament. We were leading almost the whole game, and then to think we were going to lose after playing so well was tough. That had to be the most exciting win.
The most disappointing loss wasn't against Indiana State and Larry Bird, even though some things happened at the end that wouldn't have happened today with the rule changes.
It was my senior year, when we lost to Kansas State in the NCAAs in Dallas. That was the first and only time that we had talked about getting to the Final Four, and then we lost in the first round in Dallas. We were a very good team that year. We should have been 10-12 points better than those guys, and we just didn't get it done.
What are your impressions of John Pelphrey?
He's winning with players not recruited for his system, which shows he has the ability to coach. As they win games their confidence is going to grow, and they'll start to match the intensity of players like Beverley and Weems. They should be able to muster up that intensity and stand against any basketball team.
It's exciting - I'd like to see them go on the road and play with that intensity. That's what makes a great team - when you play on the road and get it done. I had the opportunity to meet with Coach Pelphrey a few weeks ago, and he's open to any ex-Razorbacks coming down at any time. After the season I'll stop by and visit.
We’ve seen some press clips recently about your daughter Chantlee [a senior at Fayetteville High]. How is her basketball season going?
She had an outstanding volleyball season, stepped up really big for her team. Now she's doing a very good job for the basketball team. She was in foul trouble a lot last year, but this year is on the court a lot more. She’s probably blocking 3-4 shots a game now. The refs aren't used to girls blocking shots, but she's doing great. It's been good for her, and she loves to pass. Her team needs her to score more, and I think she'll do so when the time comes. She's a great passer - would probably be an All-American if she were a guard. She's 5'11" and has long arms, which helps her out.
Current ESPN broadcaster Jimmy Dykes also was a walk-on with the Hogs when you were on the team. Who wins a game of one-on-one between you two?
Jimmy knows that in a game of one-on-one, I'd win. I'd have trouble with him in a "skills and drills" challenge. He'd set me down in less than a second if we were handling the basketball. He's a great ballhandler! But in one-on-one and shooting, I'd could get him. No doubt!