Arkansas Basketball Coach Mike Anderson told a crowd of more than 300 Razorback faithful of his lofty goals for the program Monday night, May 7, during the Mississippi County Razorback Club Banquet at the Manila Airport Center.
Anderson guided the University of Alabama-Birmingham to the Sweet 16 before moving on to the University of Missouri, where he took the Tiger program to the Elite 8 in 2011.
Anderson said he was glad to be back in Arkansas and thrilled to be the Razorback coach. "I am back at a place I am very familiar with," said Anderson. "I am excited about what has taken place so far and I am looking forward to year two. When you start out, you've got to lay a foundation. You've got to create an atmosphere and you have to change the culture in year one. That's what we're trying to do."
The banquet also featured a silent auction with all proceeds from the event going to support the Razorback Foundation. Mississippi County Razorback Club President Ben Hubbard was pleased with the turnout, financial support and Anderson's appearance. The banquet raised approximately $10,000.
"Coach Anderson did a great job," said Hubbard. "He's very energetic and very confident in his basketball team. I think we've got nothing but good things to look forward to. I think everybody that was here tonight enjoyed it."
Anderson, who guided the Razorbacks to an 18-15 record this season, which included a 16-6 start, attributed a lack of depth to the Hogs' poor finish. "We are definitely going in the right direction," Anderson said. "We are making strides. We were very young this season, plus we lost our best player, Marshawn Powell to an injury."
"We implemented what Coach (Nolan) Richardson called 40 minutes of hell. But a lot of time what we had was 25 minutes of hell and 15 minutes of what the hell are we doing," added Anderson, whose comments drew laughter from the enthusiastic crowd of Hog supporters.
Anderson spoke highly of local freshmen Hunter Mickelson and Ky Madden. "Mickelson has a great pair of hands and a great touch," said Anderson. "He just needs to get stronger and get repetition against good competition. I think Ky has a good attitude and is making the adjustment on the college level. I am demanding a lot of things of him. He is going to get in the weight room and hopefully pick up some weight and strength."
Anderson said he was looking forward to playing new SEC members Texas A&M and Missouri. "I am sure there will be added drama in the series with Missouri, considering I was the coach there."
Anderson praised the Arkansas fan base and acknowledged the passion Hog fans have for their teams, which brought cheers from the Razorback fans in attendance.
"It's great to be back at Arkansas. Let me say this. I am a coach that gets it. I have been to everywhere in Arkansas to come and spread the word to the Razorback nation that Razorback basketball is back," concluded Anderson.