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A Christmas Gift from Coach Pel

Razorback ExpatsSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2008

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)In the aftermath of last Saturday’s spirited win over Stephen F. Austin, a pleased John Pelphrey told the media that he doesn’t need any Christmas gifts under his tree on Thursday morning. “I just got [my present],” he said, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

I don’t know how many of you will agree with my sentiments, but I feel that Pelphrey has given Hog hoops fans a nice Christmas present: at long last, the Razorbacks are again fun to watch.

Are they good? Well, we’ll should get an answer over the next month or so. But even if this team turns in a decidedly ho-hum record, I get the feeling they will still be enjoyable to watch and will provide some memorable moments along the way.

From the dazzling all-around game of Courtney Fortson, to the eye-popping improvement of Michael Washington and the sharpshooting skills of Rotnei Clarke, for starters, this is an absorbing group of players. Toss in the fact that one of my favorite all-time football players is now lacing up his hightops, and the team becomes even more interesting.

It’s been a good while since I was this interested in a Hogs team. Even when Stan Heath was leading his last two squads to late-season surges and appearances in the NCAA Tournament, there was a noticeable blandness that surrounded the team. Things started to brighten a little last year, but even then, following the Hogs sometimes felt more like homework than a hobby.

Now, with more of Pelphrey’s recruits in Fayetteville, it just feels like good times are definitely on the horizon. And that’s a nice gift indeed.

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