With Arkansas’ post-season plans de-railed in women’s basketball due to the suspension caused by the COVID-19 national emergency, Mike Neighbors is still going to use the No. 24 ranking to his advantage.
“We’ll find every way to spin it possible,” he said Tuesday evening as he’s still staying busy.
The Associated Press final poll released earlier in the day put the Razorbacks just inside the Top 25 (South Carolina was No. 1, which was not a surprise). That is a step forward for Neighbors after his third season.
“That’s one way to stay in the poll,” he said. “We still would have rather gone into the tournament and tried to improve on that, but I think it’s only happened one other time.”
It is something he can use talking to recruits, which is still on-going despite the fact no coaches can go see players or have them on campus.
“It’s a dead period, not a shutdown,” Neighbors said. “We can send them social media messages, texts. We never blow them up on that stuff anyway, but we’ve got some good players that want to play for us.”
What will nag at Neighbors with the abrupt ending to the season, however, is seniors Alexis Tolefree and Kiara Williams not getting to play in the NCAA Tournament, something that both of them wanted badly.
Both are still considering their options. For Williams, graduate school is a possibility. Tolefree may keep playing basketball.
“The people I’m talking to think Alexis has a good shot at getting picked in the draft,” Neighbors said. “Kiera’s not exactly sure what she wants to do.”
Neighbors is on the committee for the Wade Trophy and some committees, which are meeting via the telephone. Forget the annual convention because that’s been cancelled.
“You learn all kinds of stuff at that,” he said. “We’re still busy with meetings and evaluations.”
He would rather be busy playing games, but that’s not in his control.
Neighbors also confirmed sophomore Rokia Doumbia has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal, which has been talked about now for a few days.
“That’s the first kid we’ve had go into it,” he said about a player that had increased playing time of the course of the season. “But we’ve got some players in it that we’re talking to as well.”