Arkansas Men’s Basketball coach Eric Musselman talking Razorbacks; has team in Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament

Eric Musselman ( photo)
Eric Musselman Arkansas BKB His senior class. Smith & Williams playing together. Jalen Tate. 2 21.mp3

FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2021

MBB Sweet 16 Preview: #10 Arkansas-Oral Roberts Rematch

Who: #10 (#3 seed) Arkansas Razorbacks (24-6) vs. (#15 seed) Oral Roberts (18-10)
What: Arkansas and Oral Roberts will be meeting for the second time this season.
When: Saturday – Mar. 27 – 7:25 pm (ET) / 6:25 pm (CT)
Where: NCAA Sweet 16 – Indianapolis, Ind. – Bankers Life Fieldhouse
How (to follow):
– TV:
TBS (Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson)
  ^ Arkansas-Oral Roberts Watch/Stats: CLICK HERE
^ Download the March Madness App: CLICK HERE
– Radio:
Learfield IMG College Razorback Sports Network (Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman)
  ^ Listen to Razorback Sports Network Online: CLICK HERE
Westwood One (Ryan Radtke  and Donny Marshall)
  ^ Sirius/XM: XM Channel 207 – Sirius Channel 137 – Streaming Online 967

Arkansas Game Notes: CLICK HERE or HERE
– Oral Roberts Game Notes: CLICK HERE

INDIANAPOLIS – Arkansas will be playing in its first NCAA Sweet 16 since 1996 when the 10th-ranked and 3rd-seeded Razorbacks face 15th-seeded Oral Roberts on Saturday (Mar. 27) in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament. Game time is set for 7:25 pm (ET) / 6:25 pm (CT) and the contest will be televised on TBS.

Arkansas and Oral Roberts met earlier this year on Dec. 20 in Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas trailed at halftime (40-30) but it out-scored Oral Roberts 57-36 in the second half to win 87-76. Justin Smith and Desi Sills each posted double-doubles in the win and each had career highs in rebounds. Smith led all players with 22 points and pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds. Smith hauled in 10 offensive rebounds as the Razorbacks had 24 offensive boards and out-rebounded the Golden Eagles, 58-32, overall.

For more information on Arkansas Men’s Basketball, follow @RazorbackMBB on Twitter.

Musselman Doesn’t Mind Being Down
• Eric Musselman would certainly prefer to be in the lead, but has no worries when getting down in the NCAA Tournament.
• Each of Eric Musselman’s four NCAA Tournament wins have come despite facing double-digit deficits.
^ 2018 NCAA 1st Round: Nevada was down 14 (40-26) to Texas with 18:42 left in regulation. Nevada made a basket with three seconds left to force overtime and defeated the Longhorns by four (87-83).
^2018 NCAA 2nd Round: Nevada was down 17 (27-10) to Cincinnati in the first half and down 20 (65-45) with 10:49 left in the second half. Nevada tied it (73-73) with 54 seconds left then sank a basket with three seconds left to win 75-73.
^ 2021 NCAA 1st Round; Arkansas was down 14 with 5:28 left in the first half before going on a 19-0 run. Arkansas was
down six (50-44) with 13:49 left but took a 55-54 lead with 10:20 left and led the rest of the way.
^ 2021 NCAA 2nd Round; Arkansas was down 10 with 10:34 left in the first half before going on a 20-8 run to lead by
two going into halftime. Arkansas was never relinquished the lead in the second half.
^ 2019 NCAA 1st Round: Nevada did not win but was down 18 (51-33) to Florida with 14:03 left in the game. Nevada worked its deficit to two (63-61) with 2:02 left, but the Gators held on for a 70-61 win.

ERIC MUSSELMAN (San Diego ‘87)

20-12 • one year as Arkansas head coach
130-45 • five years as a collegiate head coach
503-291 • 14 seasons as professional head coach

Eric Musselman was named head men’s basketball coach at the University of Arkansas on April 7, 2019, with his official welcome and press conference coming on the following day at Bud Walton Arena. Musselman has more than 30 years of coaching experience, including 14 years as a head coach in the NBA, NCAA and CBA.

In his five years as a collegiate head coach, Musselman’s teams have won at least 20 games each year to post a career record of 130-46 with his winning percentage of .739 ranking ninth-best among active Division I coaches (with at least four years of head coaching experience).

Prior to entering the collegiate head coaching ranks, Musselman was a head coach for seven professional teams, including two seasons with the Golden State Warriors (2002-04) and one with the Sacramento Kings (2006-07). He has won over 500 games as a professional head coach with an overall winning percentage of .634 (508-293).

In his first year at Arkansas, the Razorbacks posted a 20-12 record to become just the second first-year Razorback coach to win 20 games. He was also 1 of 10 NCAA Division I coaches in their first year at a program to win at least 20 games in 2019-20. He was the only one from a power conference to do so.

His exciting brand of basketball and infectious personality has invigorated the Razorback faithful. Arkansas had five sell-outs in 2019-20 and ranked eighth in the NCAA in total attendance (294,262) — 12th in season average (15,487). Season ticket sales were the most since 2015-16 and attendance for SEC games rose 6% despite having just four Saturday league games at home.

Thanks to a win at Georgia Tech and the program’s first-ever road win versus a Big 10 team at Indiana, the Razorbacks were 43rd in the NCAA Net prior to the season being abruptly ending on March 12 – prior to a second-round meeting with South Carolina in the SEC Tournament – due to COVID-19.

Individually, Mason Jones had a break-out season in Musselman’s system. Jones, who was not only preseason all-conference team, was named SEC Co-Player of the Year by the media, was consensus first team All-SEC, was one of two players to be a unanimous first team pick by the SEC’ media, Nationally, Jones was voted AP honorable mention All-America (1 of 20 recognized) and he was one of five finalists for the Jerry West Award, presented to the nation’s top shooting guard.

Musselman also had success on the recruiting trail in his first season as the Class of 2020 was the fifth-best group in the nation (ESPN) thanks to prospect Moses Moody (the highest-rated Razorback recruit since 2013, #16 Bobby Portis) and three other consensus four-stars – Davonte Davis, Khalen Robinson and Jaylin Williams – that ranked among the nation’s top 100. Musselman also landed three of the top graduate transfers in the nation in Jalen Tate (#5 by NBC Sports),  Justin Smith (#11 by The Stadium) and Vance Jackson (#8 by CBS Sports).

At Nevada, Musselman led the Wolf Pack to Mountain West regular-season titles in each of his last three years. The Wolf Pack won the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) postseason tournament in his first year as head coach while adding a Mountain West tournament title in 2017 to secure the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. The last two seasons, Nevada earned at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament as a seventh seed each time.

In addition to his teams’ success, numerous individual honors have been bestowed upon his players. Caleb Martin was a two-time All-America selection (2018 and ’19), a two-time district Player of the Year honoree and 2018 Mountain West Player of the Year. Overall, 13 All-Mountain West honors were earned by Wolf Pack players over the last four seasons.

Year one of the Musselman era was an unmitigated success. The team went 20-12 despite having Isaiah Joe – one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters – miss five conference games due to injury. The Razorbacks led the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.272). The squad also led the SEC in free throws made (third in NCAA), turnover margin (ninth in the NCAA), turnovers forced (29th in the NCAA), total steals (34th in the NCAA), fewest turnovers per game (47th in NCAA).

The team had an NCAA Net of 43 while NCAA Net had Arkansas’ overall strength of schedule at 25th, including a non-conference schedule ranking of 12th. Arkansas was 12-1 in the non-conference with wins at Georgia Tech, at Indiana – the program’s first road win versus a Big 10 opponent, and a home win over TCU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Individually, Mason Jones was one of five finalists for the Jerry West Award, named AP honorable mention All-America, voted AP SEC co-Player of the Year and first team All-SEC, being one of two unanimous picks by the media. He was the only player in the league to rank among the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (20th), assists (10th) and steals (6th). Jones became just the third person to be named SEC Player of the Week a record four times while becoming the first Razorback to lead the SEC in scoring (22.03; 8th in the NCAA). He posted nine games with at least 30 points (two 40-plus), which was the most by an SEC player over the last 20 years. Jones additionally led the NCAA, while setting a school record, by making 233 free throws.

Jones and Isaiah Joe were both named USBWA All-District as they were to top-scoring duo in the SEC. Joe ranked seventh in the league by scoring 16.9 ppg. Joe, despite missing six total games due to a knee injury, led the SEC in 3-pointers made (94) while ranking fourth in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (3.26). Joe also set a school record for best free throw percentage in SEC games (.954) while ranking 14th in the NCAA in overall free throw percentage (.890).

At Nevada, Musselman led the Wolf Pack to Mountain West regular-season titles in each of the last three years. The Wolf Pack won the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) postseason tournament in his first year as head coach while adding a Mountain West tournament title in 2017 to secure the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. The past two seasons, Nevada earned at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament as a seventh seed each time.

In addition to his teams’ success, numerous individual honors have been bestowed upon his players. Caleb Martin was a two-time All-America selection (2018 and ’19), a two-time district Player of the Year honoree and 2018 Mountain West Player of the Year. Overall, 13 All-Mountain West honors were earned by Wolf Pack players over Musselman’s four seasons.

This past year, Nevada was ranked among the nation’s top 20 all season – including 16 weeks inside the top 10 – and won 29 games for the second straight year, finishing 29-5, to tie the school record for most wins in season. He was one of 15 finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award. The team featured Martin, who was named first team All-Mountain West along with Jordan Caroline while Cody Martin was tabbed third team all-conference. All three were named to the MW All-Defensive team while Jazz Johnson was the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.

The previous season (2017-18), Musselman led the Nevada basketball program to a place it had not been since 2004, winning 29 games (29-8) and reaching the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for just the second time in school history. The Wolf Pack upset No. 2 seed Cincinnati but fell just a point short of reaching the school’s first Elite 8, falling 69-68 to Loyola Chicago.

Musselman earned four Coach of the Year honors in 2018 after the Pack’s successful season, including MW coaches and media, USBWA District VIII and NABC District 17.

In addition to Musselman earning numerous honors several of his players hauled in top honors after the outstanding season. Caleb Martin garnered the first of his two All-America and District Player of the Year awards while adding MW Player of the Year, MW Newcomer of the Year and MW first team. Caroline was selected to the MW first team, USBWA District VIII team and NABC District 17 first team. Cody Martin earned MW Defensive Player of the Year honors, was selected the MW second team and the MW Defensive team. Kendall Stephens earned third-team MW honors after setting the conference and school record with 126 made 3-pointers. Lindsey Drew joined Caleb Martin on the MW Defensive team.

In year two at Nevada, Musselman led the Pack to a 28-5 ledger, the program’s first MW regular season and tournament titles as Musselman was named the USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year.

Several Wolf Pack players earned postseason honors. Marcus Marshall was named to the All-MW first team and MW Newcomer of the Year after breaking the then Nevada single-season record with 115 3’s made. Cameron Oliver earned first team honors, Caroline earned second team honors and D.J. Fenner earned second team honors.

In his first season at Nevada, Musselman transformed the culture of the men’s basketball team. Musselman led the Wolf Pack to a 24-14 record and the CBI Championship, defeating Morehead State 85-82 in overtime. named him their Mountain West Coach of the Year as the Pack’s 15-win improvement from nine wins to 24 ranked the team as the sixth-most improved NCAA I squad in the country.

Three members of the Pack earned postseason honors. Marqueze Coleman was voted second team All-MW and NABC All-District. Tyron Criswell was selected as the MW Sixth Man of the Year by the conference media. Cameron Oliver set a school freshman mark and MW freshman record with his 99 blocks. Oliver was selected as the Freshman of the Year by the MW media, adding second team All-MW honors and being named to the league’s All-Defensive team.

Prior to Nevada, Musselman spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Arizona State and LSU. In 2013 the Sun Devils advanced to the second round of the NIT and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2014. The 2015 Tiger squad also advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

The 2013 ASU squad improved by 12 wins and advanced to postseason play for the first time in three years. He was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2013-14 season. While at ASU, Musselman coached 2013 second-round NBA selection Carrick Felix, 2012-13 Pac-12 co-Freshman of the Year Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski who led the nation in blocks in 2013-14.

In his only season at LSU, he coached two first team All-SEC selections in Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey. Mickey was also selected to the SEC All-Defensive team.

Musselman has been a head coach in the CBA, the United States Basketball League (USBL) and the NBADL along with the two NBA head coaching stops. His teams have collected six division titles and have advanced to the postseason seven times. He coached 24 players that went on to play in the NBA. Five times he was named CBA all-star coach. In addition to mentoring players to NBA careers, three of his former assistant coaches are current NBA head coaches, including Jim Boylan (Chicago Bulls), Scotty Brooks (Washington Wizards) and David Fitzdale (New York Knicks).

Musselman’s first head coaching job came at the age of 23 when he was hired by the Rapid City Thrillers of the Continental Basketball Association in 1989. He was the youngest coach in CBA history and the fastest to win 100 games.

He led the USBL Florida Sharks to a 53-3 record in two seasons and a league championship which earned him USBL Coach of the Year honors.

After working as an assistant under Doc Rivers and Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly, he was named the head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2002. He led the Warriors to 38 wins, a team-high in more than 10 years, and was runner-up in the NBA Coach of Year voting. He also coached the Warriors during the 2003-04 season.

Following a year as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies under Mike Fratello, he coached the Sacramento Kings for the 2006-07 season.

Musselman made his first stop in Reno for the 2010-11 season when he was head coach for the NBA D-League’s Bighorns and led them to their first Western Conference title in franchise history.

Musselman worked as an analyst on radio and television prior to coaching the Reno Bighorns (2010-11) and LA D-Fenders (2011-12) of the NBADL. In 2012 he earned Coach of the Year honors.

While coaching the Reno Bighorns in NBADL he worked with Jeremy Lin, Danny Green and Steve Novak who were called up to the NBA. Gerald Green, Malcom Thomas, Darius Morris, Jamario Moon and Courtney Fortson earned trips to the NBA when he coached them with the D-Fenders.

Musselman has experience coaching international basketball having served as the head coach of the Dominican Republic National Team (2010-11), The US and Team China in the Adidas Global Experience (2009, 2010) and The Venezuela National Team (2011-13).

Born in Ashland, Ohio he attended high school in Brecksville south of Cleveland. He attended the University of San Diego and helped the Toreros to a 24-6 record as a senior and a trip to the NCAA Tournament While at USD he was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic team three times and the Toreros played in two NCAA Tournaments.

Musselman is married to Danyelle Sargent Musselman who has worked at ESPN, Fox Sports and the NFL Network as a broadcaster. Musselman has two sons Michael and Matthew and the couple has a daughter Mariah.

Musselman’s father Bill was also an NBA head coach and they were the first father-son combination to become head coaches in the NBA.


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