Content provided by The Slophouse.
FAYETTEVILLE - Scanning a half-empty (or was it half-full?) crowd made it easy to spot some famous people at last night’s Arkansas-Oklahoma basketball game at Bud Walton Arena.
In attendance were Sidney Moncrief, Ron Brewer and Jim Counce from the 1978 Final Four team, and Clint McDaniel from the Razorbacks’ 1994 national championship team.
Scotty Thurman, who hit the shot to give Arkansas the lead for good in the 1994 national championship game, was on the bench in his first year as director of player development. Thurman was partially responsible for gathering the legends at the game, he said Wednesday while speaking to the Northwest Arkansas Tip-Off Club in Springdale.
Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said following the game it was important to have former players attending games and being around the program.
“Those guys are a huge part of what make it special to be a Razorback,” Pelphrey said. “We are so proud of our past and we celebrate it. I’m glad those guys were here. I’m certainly glad we could perform well enough to get a win. Those guys set a standard pretty high and we all try to live up to it.”
Now, the University of Arkansas needs to take it a step further and recognize the players by hanging several of their jerseys in the rafters of Bud Walton Arena. There are currently no jerseys hung at the arena, though Moncrief’s No. 32 and Corliss Williamson’s No. 34 have not been worn since they left the program. Others like Thurman, Brewer and Todd Day are among those deserving of such an honor from the school.
With Arkansas’ history in basketball and showcase of an arena, it’s shame this hasn’t been done already. Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, Duke’s Cameron Indoor Arena, North Carolina’s Dean Smith Center and UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion have rafters littered with jerseys from the past. While Arkansas doesn’t quite meet the standards those programs have set, it does have a rich basketball history with six Final Four appearances and a national championship trophy.
Not to mention, a ceremony celebrating one of the Razorbacks’ legends of the past would sell tickets – something the school desperately needs with crowds filling less than half the arena this year.
But for now, just having them back is a nice starting point. Here’s to hoping it is taken a step further, and soon.