There's not a lot of new information coming from Anderson's appearance in Birmingham, but it is refreshing to see him sounding confident and excited about this year's team. "Everybody's been on time" he joked, alluding to a possible problem the last couple of years.
Questions about the Hogs' troubles on the road obviously came up, as they will until Arkansas wins a game or two away from Fayetteville, but Anderson brushed them aside as though it's all part of his plan, all part of the natural growth of a program from learning to win at home first, then win on the road.
Something that will absolutely be different from Anderson's first couple of teams will be the emphasis on big players in the post. Asked about players to watch out for, Anderson referenced his group of "skilled 4s", a reference to the new power forwards on the roster: Bobby Portis, Alandise Harris, and Moses Kingsley to go along with returning sophomores Michael Qualls and JaCorey Williams.
But the forward Anderson seems most excited about is Coty Clarke. Clarke was named a team captain and represented the Hogs in Birmingham as well. Anderson noted that it's usually a junior college player's second year with a program when he usually blossoms. Clarke ended last season with a lot of positive momentum, averaging 10.6 points in the final eight games.
Anderson also expressed optimism that the quality of SEC basketball as a whole would be improved this year, naming teams like Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee as teams that should be improved, along with Florida and Ole Miss as teams that have been good and are expected to continue this season. Anderson is right about that. The question is whether the SEC can prove it in nonconference play and shake its reputation as a weak basketball league.
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