Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes met with the local media on Tuesday afternoon before the Vols travel to Fayetteville to face Arkansas on Wednesday night.
The Vols are looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss at Texas A&M at a place where they’ve struggled in recent seasons. While this Arkansas team isn’t as good as recent ones, Barnes sees a challenge as tough as any his team has faced this season.
Barnes put a bow on Tennessee’s loss at Texas A&M, previewed Wednesday’s game at Arkansas and discussed much more on Tuesday. Here’s everything he said.
More From RTI: Rick Barnes Tees Off On Officials For Not Assessing Buzz Williams A Technical For Running On Court
On what he wants his Tennessee players to learn from the last couple weeks
“Well, we talked (it) about yesterday, poise. I thought we lost our poise in the fact that when we got down, we felt like we had to get it all back at once. And because they made some threes early and we got away from our defensive game plan and got anxious. But again, I think we had an effort, but it wasn’t a smart effort. And I do know we got guys that you watch it, they want to win, but we just got to be better in those situations, when things aren’t going our way, that we don’t think we got to get it all back at once. Because it’s basketball. a game of runs.
“And (at Texas A&M) we got where it was too many one-on-ones, too many one-pass, quick threes. And the tough part is when you watch it with the guys, they are shots that we’ve made. And it’s tough to tell them not to take those shots, but there’s a flow to the game when we talk about those threes when they’re going in, it’s great. When they’re not, we’ve got to know the situation, what we need to do to put more pressure on the defense.”
On if that lack of poise has been a reoccurring issue in Tennessee losses this season
“I think every game — I say it all the time — takes on a different personality. And I think players in each game, we all wish that we could bottle the good moments all the time. But I don’t know if it’s a reoccurring theme. I think it’s part of basketball. It’s part of sports. You just watched the Super Bowl. Those guys are the best at what they do and some of the mistakes they make, they still make. And it’s just part of when you’re competing and trying to be the best.
“And when you talk about reoccurring, I think it comes back from guys that just want to win and they have a passion about it. And sometimes they can get too emotional about it and get in a hurry, speed up. But as long as you’re working, trying to get better, you’d like to think in the end it’s all going to work out for you.”
On what Tennessee needs to do better defensively to eliminate opponents driving to the rim
“Well, angles for one. You can’t open your hips up the way we did (at Texas A&M). And we have to, again, it’s hard to play one-on-one defense. I don’t care where you are. It’s tough. And that’s why it’s a team game. And it’s not one guy out there. There’s five and it’s up to all five guys to help do their job. But when you play against teams that are driving it, again, in-game adjustments. And we talked about it, how we wanted to play and we got away from it. But it wasn’t just a guy guarding the ball. It’s a team game and it’s got to be a team effort.”
On if he’s concerned about Tennessee’s rebounding struggle after the last two games
“I don’t like the fact that, again, we don’t rebound the ball the way we need to. Because we have to. And the fact is, we haven’t done a good job. But we made a point of that talking about it, working on it yesterday, and we’ll continue to do that because we can’t be who we want to be if we don’t rebound the ball better than we have the last two games.”
On what his reaction was to Buzz Williams calling a timeout at mid court
“It can’t happen. I mean the most important thing is player safety. And when people are on the floor that’s not supposed to be (there), a coach, anyone, you can’t do that. And obviously it wasn’t handled the right way by the officials. But I can assure you it’s been addressed long before I even talked about it. I have so much respect for our conference and Mike Eades who’s in charge of officiating. I can assure you he took care of it probably before we walked off the court.”
On if he reached out to the SEC league office about it
“Well, to be honest with you, they reached out first. Not just to me, to every, I mean, coaches can’t do that. I mean, we know it. I mean, the box is there and I don’t have a problem with coaches, game going on, walking down closer to mid court, trying to get his team to his attention. I don’t think any coach has a problem with that. But you can’t go out on the court. I mean everybody knows that. And you just can’t do it. And like I said, I appreciate, again, before I even got to the plane I’d gotten a text saying that it was not handled the right way.”
On what Pat Adams explanation to him about the situation was, if he got one
“No, he said he was going to handle it, but he didn’t handle it the right way. I mean, officials are just like players and coaches. We all make mistakes and afterwards, you like to think that officials not just in that game, but officials around the country learn from it. Like, it can’t happen. You can’t ever let somebody run out on the floor while the game’s going on in the flow because, I mean, Tobe I think dodged it. And you can’t do that. I guess what I’ll start telling my players, if somebody’s on the floor, just run over them because that way it’ss an obvious technical foul, but you don’t want to do that. I don’t to see anybody get hurt, but it just can’t happen. It simply can’t happen.”
On what they’ve done to work on rebounding in practice
“Blocking out, going to get the ball. Just that simple. We got to finish possessions and it’s got to be, again, it’s five guys out there doing it and they all have to do it.”
On what impresses him about Arkansas and coach Eric Musselman
“Well they beat Purdue (in an exhibition game), who I think arguably right now, best team in the country. They beat Duke, beat Texas A&M. And if you go back and look at Eric, what he does, his teams get better. They’re going to fight. That’s what they do. And again, his teams have always gotten better as the year goes on. We know that they have a great arena, great home crowd. We expect it to be as hard a game as any we played all year.”
On what makes Bud Walton Arena a strong environment
“Well, they’ve got a great basketball tradition. You go back to Nolan (Richardson) but even before that Eddie Sutton’s run there and he was there. I mean, they’ve got a history of— like all the schools that have most great home courts, they’ve had a long history of being successful. And Arkansas has. They’ve got a history of being known as a school that has always had great basketball.”
On him saying that Zakai Zeigler’s mindset is built into his mindset, if any other players have shown the same thing
“Well, I think we got some guys that they — I talk about transparency a lot, and when we go in the film room, it’s pretty raw because that film doesn’t lie. You go in there, you either are gonna look at it the way it is, or if you’re gonna put a defense mechanism up and make excuses, you won’t get better. And I don’t think we have a team like that because we’re not, one, I think they understand as a coaching staff, we’re not gonna allow it. But I think two, we talk to ’em enough about it that we know what they want out of the game and how they want to improve their value as a basketball player. And the only way you can do that is to be totally honest with yourself and that film doesn’t lie. So we talk about it and when it gets really good is when they can say it to each other. Not just when I say it. It’s when the players will say, ‘Hey, you need to shoot the ball. If you don’t shoot the ball, you’re not really trying to help us win. If you don’t block out, you don’t really, you don’t want us to win.’ And so when that starts happening, that’s when you have a chance to really grow.”
On how important it is to Jonas Aidoo back to playing the way he played early in SEC play
“I mean, Jonas has always been really important to us, but as he’s finding out now too, just like Dalton, I mean people game plan and he’s gonna have to take on those gameplans and he’s gonna have to want to establish what he wants to do, where he wants to do it. And that comes with success. Once you start having success — I mean, there are really good coaches in college basketball and there’s so much out there that you can use to help you get ready to gameplan. Everybody’s got different players how they want to use ’em. But when you have success, it’s gonna get harder because of the fact that like I said, people, you get a bulls-eye on your back. You’re gameplanned for and it’s probably the first time in some ways from an offensive standpoint that people have really done that to Jonas. And so, like so many players that get to that position, it is a learning situation for him that he realizes it’s a whole lot harder than he probably thought it before it started.”
On what Texas A&M was doing to target Dalton Knecht when he was on defense
“They didn’t do anything differently. Other people tried to put him in isolation situations and we know that going into games because that’s been the trend. I’ve watched it with — they do it to Zakai (Zeigler) some. I mean, the coaches are gonna try to go after your best players, but they were just working up there trying to get a situation. And it wasn’t just Dalton. He wasn’t the only guy that got blown by on straight line drives. It wasn’t him. I mean, other guys did it too. But it wasn’t anything other than they ran a little stack action up there and said, Hey, and then if we defended the first part of it, it became an isolation plan and whoever was there had to do it. And that’s where we were getting out of our gaps. ‘Cause we don’t want to ever leave anybody, I don’t care who it is, isolated by themselves. Ever. We did that too much.”
On Dalton Knecht learning the grind of SEC play
“Oh, there’s no doubt he’s learning the grind. The attention that you guys have given him, he’s never had to deal with that. I mean, this is all new to him. I mean, I think he’s done a great job, really. I mean, dealing with you guys is easy compared to what he’s dealt with me with, you know? But he’s embraced it because he really wants to be a good player and he wants to be a good teammate. He wants to help his guys win. But all this is new to him. The fact that he’s doing it with a lot of eyes on him is really pretty impressive.”
Gov. Sanders appoints Scott Ford to University of Arkansas Board – Talk Business & Politics
Gov. Sarah Sanders announced Monday (March 4) that she is appointing Westrock Coffee CEO Scott Ford of Little Rock to the board of trustees of the University of Arkansas. Ford, whose term will expire March 1, 2034, will replace Morril Harriman, a former State Senator and former chief of staff to Gov. Mike Beebe.
“I am proud to appoint Scott Ford, a highly respected, accomplished entrepreneur, to serve on the board of trustees at the University of Arkansas,” Sanders said. “From Rwanda all the way to Conway, Arkansas, he has helped attract businesses, jobs, and opportunities. I am confident that his strong leadership, character, and experience will make him an invaluable member of the board of trustees.”
Ford is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Westrock Coffee and former CEO of Alltel Corp.
Ford also serves as a Special Advisor to the Stephens Group where he brings experience in managing and operating private and public companies, with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with a business undergoing accelerated growth initiatives.
He also serves on the Board of Directors of AT&T, Inc. and Agaciro Development Fund, the sovereign wealth fund for the Republic of Rwanda. He has served on the Board of Directors of Tyson Foods and served as the Chairman of the Little Rock Branch of the St. Louis Federal Reserve.
Ford holds a B.S.B.A in Finance from the University of Arkansas.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be appointed by Governor Sanders to serve on the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees,” Ford said. “Governor Sanders puts the people of her state first, empowering all Arkansans to get off the sidelines and into the workforce. She is taking Arkansas to the top. I look forward to working with the board and the administration as we prepare the next generation of leaders to take our state to the next level.”
Arkansans fight the power • Arkansas Advocate
This is why Arkansas needs to keep a strong public records and open meetings law, and make it stronger.
On Dec. 4, Helena-West Helena Police responded to an unidentified caller’s report of a “gang fight that included parents” at the city’s Central High School. Less than 10 minutes later, the school district’s independent campus police department told city officers they weren’t needed.
We know this much about the violence that day thanks to the reporting of Phillips County’s scrappy weekly newspaper The Helena World.
Since then, however, the Helena-West Helena School District has stonewalled newspaper publisher Andrew Bagley’s public records requests for school security video, incident reports and other documents. Even after he filed a lawsuit under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act on Jan. 29.
The school district claimed a broad exemption to disclosing the video and other information under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), but, as the World’s lawsuit points out, FERPA allows the release of information if students’ identities are redacted.
Besides, the district undermined its own position when it held an expulsion hearing on Jan. 4 and not only publicly disclosed the names of students who participated in the melee, but discussed one student’s prior disciplinary record without the student being present or represented.
And, as Bagley pointed out in an article, the school district’s FERPA exemption claim is so broad that a publication “wouldn’t even be given the Honor Roll to print because it could be considered a student record under HWHSD’s claim.”
The school district “just doesn’t want this to see the light of day because it results in negative public relations,” Bagley said in the article.
“People have a right to know what is happening in their schools and how those entrusted with its management deal with issues. Bad things happen. Often, it’s the response to it that results in problems,” he said.
But the publisher’s struggle to make the school district comply with the FOIA isn’t his only public records battle.
After Helena-West Helena Mayor Christopher Franklin fired four police officers amid allegations of use of excessive force in February, the World asked for the officers’ personnel files and body camera footage.
Surprise! The city is stonewalling. City Attorney Andre Valley, citing an ongoing investigation exception for the video, requested an opinion from Attorney General Tim Griffin on whether the records can be released, but Griffin’s office sidestepped the issue, saying the city didn’t ask a clear-cut question, and declined to opine.
Since then, the mayor has left the matter in the hands of the city attorney, who continues to oppose the release of the personnel records and the body cam footage. Worse yet, the county prosecutor supports the city attorney’s position.
“This apparently is going to be the M.O. going forward. Delay, deny, delay,” Bagley said in an interview last week.
A proposed initiated act that would toughen civil penalties for violating the state FOIA and create a commission to help citizens enforce the law would help, Bagley said. He is part of the bipartisan coalition seeking to get the measure on the November ballot.
The proposed Arkansas Government Disclosure Act will “provide an avenue other than through a lawsuit” for citizens to enforce their right to know, Bagley said.
Plus, the criminal penalties in the Arkansas FOIA as it stands are “worthless,” he said. Prosecutors have rarely filed criminal charges under the law’s misdemeanor provision.
Bagley added that his paper’s fight to enforce the FOIA is more than just a local fight.
Proof of that came last month in a Crittenden County Circuit Court lawsuit in which the West Memphis School Board admitted violating the FOIA by interviewing candidates for superintendent without notifying the public of the special meetings and by failing to record the meetings. The court ordered the school district to pay the plaintiffs’ court costs and $1,500 in attorneys fees.
“This lawsuit is a perfect example of why the people of Arkansas are pursuing a constitutional amendment and people’s act to enshrine the right to transparency in our constitution,” attorney and FOIA warrior Joey McCutchen said in a news release about the case. McCutchen represented the plaintiffs.
“This case is the perfect example of the need in the people’s law to allow a Circuit Court to hold individual wrongdoers personally liable with the imposition of a $1,000 civil penalty which will not be satisfied with public funds,” he said, referring to provisions in the proposed Government Disclosure Act.
“Conduct rewarded is conduct repeated,” he said.
Supporters of the disclosure initiative and the proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine the people’s right to know in the Arkansas Constitution are gathering signatures now to get both items on the November ballot.
After years of legislative moves to weaken the FOIA, encouraged last year by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Helena-West Helena and West Memphis cases show why we need the pending proposals.
Georgia Sweeps Arkansas, 4-0 – University of Georgia Athletics
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The No. 11 Georgia women’s tennis team capped off its first weekend of Southeastern Conference action with its second sweep in three days, as it defeated No. 43 Arkansas 4-0 at the Billingsley Tennis Center on Sunday.
The victory extends the Bulldogs’ (7-3, 2-0 SEC) winning streak to five matches, now improving to 35-3 all-time against the Razorbacks (7-5, 0-2 SEC) and winning each of the last 16 meetings between both programs.
“It was a good weekend for our team here in Missouri and Arkansas,” said head coach Drake Bernstein. “We had a clean performance today in some tough, windy conditions, putting solid performances in across the board.”
Opening the day with doubles, Georgia took the early lead by securing the doubles point in its sixth-consecutive match.
The No. 23 tandem of Mai Nirundorn and Guillermina Grant struck first as the duo made quick work on court two, defeating Lenka Stara and Grace O’Donnell (Arkansas) 6-1. The win extends the duo’s winning streak to six matches.
On court one, the No. 22 duo of Aysegul Mert and Dasha Vidmanova jumped out to a flying start as they led 5-0 early in the match. Despite a late surge from the opposition, Mert and Vidmanova held on to close out Morgan Cross and Anet Koskel (Arkansas) by a score of 6-3 to secure the doubles point for the Bulldogs.
Moving on to singles play, Georgia remained on the front foot early as it took five first sets across six courts.
On court three, No. 95 Anastasiia Lopata was dominant from start to finish. The Kiev, Ukraine-native recorded a bagel in the first set and showed quickness down the stretch en route to a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Lenka Stara (Arkansas).
Coming off a win in her dual singles debut at Missouri on Friday, Mert shined bright in her second-straight appearance in the lineup as she made quick work of Kacie Harvey (Arkansas) for a 6-3, 6-2 win on court five.
Three Bulldogs came within two games of securing the clincher, but it was No. 48 Alexandra Vecic who came through for the win on court two. After trailing 4-1 in the first set, Vecic came back to win a tiebreaker in the first followed by a strong second set to defeat Kelly Keller (Arkansas) 7-6(1), 6-2.
Georgia’s next action will see it return on the road for two matches on the East Coast, where it will face No. 19 Florida on Friday, Mar. 8 at 5 p.m. ET in Gainesville, Fla. followed by No. 14 South Carolina on Sunday, Mar. 10 at 1 p.m. ET in Columbia, S.C. The Bulldogs will compete against both the Gators and Gamecocks for a second time this season, previously knocking off South Carolina 4-1 in the ITA Kickoff Championship match while defeating Florida 4-1 in the first consolation round at the ITA DI Women’s National Team Indoor Championships.
No. 11 GEORGIA vs No. 19 FLORIDA
Date: Friday, Mar. 8
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Venue: Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex
Live Video/Scoring links will be provided closer to matchday.
No. 11 GEORGIA vs No. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA
Date: Sunday, Mar. 10
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Venue: Carolina Tennis Center
Live Scoring: https://gado.gs/bhr
Live Video link will be provided closer to matchday.
No. 34 Dasha Vidmanova (UGA) vs No. 88 Carolina Gomez (ARK), 6-3, 4-5 (unfinished)
No. 48 Alexandra Vecic (UGA) def. Kelly Keller (ARK), 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
No. 95 Anastasiia Lopata (UGA) def. Lenka Stara (ARK), 6-0, 6-2
Guillermina Grant (UGA) vs Morgan Cross (ARK), 5-7, 5-3 (unfinished)
Aysegul Mert (UGA) def. Kacie Harvey (ARK), 6-3, 6-2
No. 89 Mai Nirundorn (UGA) vs Anet Koskel (ARK), 6-4, 5-3 (unfinished)
No. 22 Aysegul Mert/Dasha Vidmanova (UGA) def. Morgan Cross/Anet Koskel (ARK), 6-3
No. 23 Guillermina Grant/Mai Nirundorn (UGA) def. Lenka Stara/Grace O’Donnell (ARK), 6-1
Mell Reasco/Alexandra Vecic (UGA) vs Kelly Keller/Carolina Gomez (ARK), 4-5 (unfinished)
No. 11 Georgia (7-3, 2-0 SEC)
No. 43 Arkansas (7-5, 0-2 SEC)
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (3,5,2)
Keep up with all the latest news and information on the Bulldogs by following UGA Women’s Tennis on X @UGAWomensTennis, on Instagram @UGAWomensTennis, and on Facebook @GeorgiaWomensTennis or check out information online at GeorgiaDogs.com.
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