Arkansas Razorback Quotes

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My name is Matt Besser, and I'm an Arkansas Razorback. My father is a Jew from Little Rock, Ark., my mother was a Christian from Harrison, Ark., and somehow I'm an atheist now living in L.A. I am a Razorback living in the Razorback diaspora.
Matt Besser
The Razorbacks would play Duke, the NCAA champs in 1991 and 1992. Duke had a host of great players, but their star was Grant Hill, a consensus pick for national Player of the Year honors. The day before the championship, Richardson grew pensive. He was reasonably proud of his accomplishments, but something was nagging him. Richardson had been the underdog so long that despite his team’s yearlong national ranking, he still felt dispossessed. He found himself pondering one of Arkansas’s little-used substitutes, a senior named Ken Biley. Biley was an undersized post player who was raised in Pine Bluff. Neither of his parents had the opportunity to go to college, but every one of his fifteen siblings did, and nearly all graduated. “I had already learned that everybody has to play his role,” Biley says of his upbringing. As a freshman and sophomore, Biley saw some court time and even started a couple of games, but his playing time later evaporated and he lost faith. “Everyone wants to play, and when you don’t you get discouraged,” he says. On two occasions, he sat down with his coach and asked what he could do to earn a more important role. “I never demanded anything,” Biley says, “and he told me exactly what I needed to do, but we had so many good players ahead of me. Corliss Williamson, for one.” Nearly every coach, under the pressure of a championship showdown, reverts to the basic strategies that got the team into the finals. But Richardson couldn’t stop thinking about Biley, and what a selfless worker he had been for four years. The day before the championship game against Duke, at the conclusion of practice, Richardson pulled Biley aside. Biley had hardly played in the first five playoff games leading up to the NCAA title match—a total of four minutes. “I’ve watched how your career has progressed, and how you’ve handled not getting to play,” Richardson began. “I appreciate the leadership you’ve been showing and I want to reward you, as a senior.” “Thanks coach,” Biley said. He was unprepared for what came next. “You’re starting tomorrow against Duke,” Richardson said. “And you’re guarding Grant Hill.” Biley was speechless. Then overcome with emotion. “I was shocked, freaked out!” Biley says. “I hadn’t played much for two years. I just could not believe it.” Biley had plenty of time to think about Grant Hill. “I was a nervous wreck, like you’d expect,” he says. He had a restless night—he stared at the ceiling, sat on the edge of his bed, then flopped around trying to sleep. Richardson had disdained book coaches for years. Now he was throwing the book in the trash by starting a benchwarmer in the NCAA championship game.
Rus Bradburd (Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson)