When UALR travels to South Alabama on Saturday, there will be an element of mystery to the Jaguars. With the sudden retirement of Coach Ronnie Arrow on Wednesday, assistant coach Jeff Price takes over.
Typically when an assistant coach takes over midseason, they tweak some things. One thing you should definitely expect is South Alabama players being as loose as they have been all season. We’re not sure what role Price played in the matrix of the coaching staff, but Arrow rode his players hard on the court. We’d expect Price to let them play.
But just how that will look remains a bit of a mystery. In order to get a glimpse of the future, we’ll take a look at Price’s past.
He was an assistant coach at South Alabama before leaving to start the basketball program at Lynn University in 1993. In his six seasons there, they went to the postseason six times and his teams were noted for their running style of play. When he left for Georgia Southern, he promised “to have a program at Georgia Southern that will be fun to watch.”
At Georgia Southern he had three 20-victory seasons in 10 years. He also took the Eagles to the NIT in 2006. He quit after a 2008-2009 season in which they finished 8-22 and were in the midst of an NCAA investigation.
In 2004-2005, Georgia Southern led the nation in possessions per 40 minutes. In their NIT season of 2005-2006, they finished 13th in the nation in possessions per 40 minutes.
We also know Price likes to press and trap opponents. In fact, he’s got a DVD out for coaches called One-and-Done Full-Court traps. The description reads like this:
“One-and-Done Full-Court Traps presents a detailed overview of a game-tested, baseline-to-baseline method for trapping and applying pressure defensively. Appropriate for coaches and teams at all competitive levels, the DVD uses on-the-court player demonstrations to help explain and illustrate how coaches can confuse their opponents by applying intense, full-court defensive pressure.”
Sections of the DVD focus on a 1-2-1-1 press and 2-2-1 press.
This year, South Alabama rates 93rd in the country in possessions per 40 minutes. The Jaguars ranked 177th last year.
Price and some of the South Alabama players were supposed to speak to the media this morning. But we’ve yet to see any reports from that. No idea if it happened or if folks just haven’t filed stories yet.