Team preview: Arkansas
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
Stan Heath would have liked nothing better than to quickly pump new life into Arkansas basketball when he succeeded former coach Nolan Richardson two years ago. But Heath hadn't inherited one of those quick-fixer-upper programs. Quite the contrary, the talent base had dipped so low that Heath knew it was going to take a couple of years to put a team on that floor that had realistic expectations of competing for the SEC's Western Division title.
After he was hired in April 2002, Heath scrambled around and found a couple of guards, just so his first Arkansas team would have someone to advance the ball up the floor. Forced to start an all-freshman backcourt, Heath had to sit back and watch his career coaching record-a sterling 30-6 after his only season at Kent State-take a hit when the Hogs won but nine games. Last season, having fortified Arkansas' perimeter corps with a top recruiting class, Heath coaxed three more wins out of his team. But the 2003-04 team had a weakness that was as glaring as the guard deficiency of the year before.