I thought Florida was unreasonable when they Fired Zook. I thought Kentucky was a little unreasonable when they fired Tubby Smith. Without the off-court issues I think it would have been unreasonable for Kentucky to fire Gillispie and I’m not sure it wasn’t unreasonable even with the off-court stuff. I thought it was reasonable to hire Heath when we did. I thought it would have been unreasonable for us to fire Heath the year before we did. I think it would have been unreasonable for us to fire Pelphrey during the non-conference losing streak this year. I’m not positive it isn’t reasonable to give Pelphrey another year after this one.
Watching the first half of this Kentucky game, I realized what happens when you are logical and reasonable. Florida made a statement about their program and their expectations when they fired Zook and found Meyer. Kentucky made a statement about their program when they fired Tubby and got Gillispie, and again when they got Calipari. We made a statement about our basketball program when we hired an up-and-comer like Heath and another statement when we had to settle for Pelphrey. We made a statement about our program when we ignored Pelphrey’s awful team performance in the first half of this season and have a chance to make another statement about our program after this season. I’m ready for that statement to be that we expect excellence.
The announcers made a statement earlier that Kentucky was upset when they got to the NIT before Calipari came here because they expect more than that in Rupp Arena. We should expect the same in Bud Walton Arena. If I had to choose a sport to put all of our support into it would be football over basketball every time, but I don’t believe we have to make that choice. We are an elite basketball school and it’s time we believe it and act like it. We have a history that proves we can be one of the best, but we aren’t going to get there by being reasonable. We have one of the best fan bases in the country, just dying to explode at the slightest hint of success. Sure Florida football and Kentucky got a little lucky with their next hires after being unreasonable, but we can be just as lucky and there are a lot of options out there. Those options are going to happen when we make the kind of commitment to basketball that the country will call unreasonable. They slammed Kentucky for being unreasonable when they got rid of Tubby Smith, but they are one of if not the best basketball team in the country right now. They are so much more talented and better coached than us it’s ridiculous.
I want Long and our administration to quit being reasonable and start being winners. I want the country to talk about how unreasonable we are and about how high our expectations we are. And then if we fall just short of our high expectations, I want them to talk about how we are disappointed with a team that went out in the sweet sixteen. I want them to talk about how we should have been happy with going to the sweet sixteen. I want them to talk about how this team is building and improving and the next year they won’t go out in the sweet sixteen.
I want to be unreasonable, at least then when we under-achieve we will be in the tournament. Right now, we are going to have to over-achieve to get 6 SEC wins.
That’s my long rant. Just wanted to share my epiphany. I am firmly in the fire John Pelphrey camp, even if he comes back and gets to .500 in the SEC ( does anyone believe that is even reachable? ) because that isn’t good enough. Pelphrey might grow to being mediocre some day, but that is not enough for me, when it comes to Arkansas basketball. I am ready to be disappointed with going out early in the NCAA tournament, because Arkansas Basketball is better than that. Walk around the concourse of BWA and look at the pictures of Corliss Williamson and Corey Beck, and tell me .500 in the SEC is acceptable. Look at all the banners hanging in the rafters of BWA, and tell me .500 in the SEC is ever acceptable.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a Fire Pel rant or a Hire Anderson rant. It’s a Commit To Basketball rant. We have a fan base that is dying to fill BWA at the slightest hint of success, just like the Texas game last year after one win against Oklahoma. Pelphrey isn’t the problem, he’s the symptom. The fact he is our coach proves that the problem goes beyond him.