McCollum's Column: A little basketball mixed with a lot of Hall of Fame anecdotes

With a basketball and Hall of Fame flavor, here’s a fresh batch of “David’s Citations” for the interesting, weird and just plain zany in sports:


BEST VIRAL MOMENT AT STATE TOURNAMENT: The volleyball spike, tomahawk-chop with a windmill twist dunk by Bentonville’s Malik Monk on Friday at Buzz Bolding Arena that many observers say was the best dunk they’ve ever seen. But Ryan Higgins, the young and energetic voice of the Bentonville Panthers who has seen all of the Monk’s dunks this season, claims that one is only second best. He said there was one against Springdale that was even more impressive. If it was, wow.

BEST STEAL: New UCA men’s basketball coach Russ Pennell remembers, while he was an assistant at Ole Miss, a recruiting trip to Perryville to scout Keith Carter. He immediately saw Carter hit some shots and a 3 and raced to a pay phone to tell head coach Rob Evans he had found the offensive player they needed. When he returned to the gym, he saw the late Arch Jones (a UCA assistant at the time) with his head buried in his hands. Jones had long thought he had Carter locked up for UCA.

“Coach Jones, are you all right?” Pennell said when he saw him. “Not now,” Jones told Pennell. “You’re going to take my boy (Carter).”

Pennell said he wasn’t sure. “Arch looked at me and said, ‘You’re gonna like him.’”

Carter went on to star for some of Ole Miss’ best teams and now works for the Rebel Foundation and is an analyst for Ole Miss basketball.

WORST HECKLE: A fan to referees at a recent Conway basketball game: “Hey, we may be getting our butts kicked, but y’all are cheating.”

WORST SCHEDULING: By virtue of where it fell on the revised bracket, the boys semifinal basketball game in the 7A tournament, possibly the marquee game in the state this year, will be at 2:30 p.m. Monday, during school at Conway High, when the parking lot is already full. And many who probably want to see that game, will be at work.

HARDSCRABBLE BEGINNINGS: The late Jim “Bad News Barnes,” the former Texas-El Paso and NBA basketball star who was recently inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, began playing basketball at Tuckerman with bare feet on a dirt court with a crude basket on a rail.

OLD SCHOOL RECRUITING: Hall of Famer Dennis “Dirt” Winston, the former Arkansas star and Pittsburgh Steeler star, told of strange developments during his signing day with assistant coach Harold Horton. “One college coach somehow got arrested when he came to town (Marianna), another from Oklahoma State could not get on a plane in time. The only person with a scholarship available to sign was Harold Horton, so I signed at 8:01 a.m.” (Footnote: The opposing coach who was arrested just happened to be released after the signing.

MOST NOTABLE STAT: Hall of Famer Bennie Fuller once scored 102 points in a game while playing for Arkansas School for the Deaf. That prompted Gary Blair, a former coach for the UA women and currently at Texas A&M, to say, “He scored more points in one game than I did in my entire playing career.”

WEIRDEST LEFT BEHIND: Blair said he once took his daughter on a recruiting trip and the two made a rest stop in Clarksville. “My mind was on recruiting and as I went down the road, I discovered I had left my daughter at the gas station. She had to borrow an attendant’s cell phone to call me and say she had been left. When you’re coaching, you’re all in. When it’s family and you’re coaching, you take what you get.”

SPANNING THE ORGANIZATIONS: During a 47-year career, Arkansas-Monticello coach Alvy Early has coached in the AIAW (Arkansas Intercollegiate Association for Women), the NAIA, the NCAA, the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference, the Gulf South Conference and the Great American Conference. “I told coach (Ken) Stephens that I don’t want anyone who could come close to that. He told me, ‘I don’t know anyone who would want to.’ ”

BEST CLUTCH AGAINST REDDIES: In two straight games this season, Conway’s Micah Delph, who plays for Ouachita Baptist University, hit 3-point baskets in the final seconds to defeat rival Henderson State.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)