TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – The stand Alabama coach Anthony Grant has taken this season in disciplining players was applauded Tuesday by the coach who will try to beat the Crimson Tide on Thursday.
“I admire him, because I think you’ve got to make a statement,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said at his news conference.
The Razorbacks will play host to an Alabama team that will be without its two leading scorers. Senior forward JaMychal Green (14.1 ppg) was reinstated Monday after being suspended indefinitely 10 days earlier for violating team rules, but he won’t play at Arkansas, Grant said Tuesday. Tony Mitchell (13.1) was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 6 for conduct detrimental to the team, and Grant announced Monday that the junior forward is out for the remainder of the season. Guards Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele missed one game after being suspended indefinitely along with Green.
“This is not just for right now,” said Anderson, a Birmingham native and former UAB coach said. “This is … what your program’s going to be about.
“It might not even be for this year. It could be for later on. Because he’s got some talented young players. So I think if you want … your program to excel at the highest level, I’m a character guy. I want guys that are going to do the right things on and off the floor.”
Anderson coached at Missouri for five seasons before leaving last year to come to Arkansas, where he had been a longtime assistant coach. In his second season at Missouri, Anderson suspended five players in connection with a bar fight. The Tigers lost to Nebraska. The players returned and Missouri defeated Kansas State.
“You’ve got to set a precedent about your program and what it’s going to be about,” Anderson said. “When I made the decision to do what I did at Missouri, I thought it was a turning point … because then everything else kind of seemed to take it up to the next level.”
Steele is pleased to have Green back on the team.
“Anytime we can get someone with that much experience and obviously the talent level he’s got, I think he’s going to help our team a lot,” Steele said. “It gives us a down-low post presence. And I feel like he’s one of the best players not only in the SEC but in the country. I only see positives coming out of it.”
Steele was asked if he is disappointed that Green won’t play at Arkansas.