It was fitting Anthony Boone was sitting on Russ Pennell’s right at Friday’s introductory news conference for the new UCA men’s basketball coach.
Boone, who will be Pennell’s assistant head coach, coached alongside him for four years at Grand Canyon State and with the Phoenix Mercury of the NBA. He’s a native of Helena, his mother is a UCA alum and Pennell said “he is one of the superstar young coaches in the country.”
He’s wondered why Boone chose to go in to coaching in the first place. Boone has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in mathematics.
When he was an assistant at Ole Miss, Pennell recruited Boone out of Helena.
“The success we had at Ole Miss in the late 90s can be attributed to Boone,” Pennell said. “He was the heart and soul of our team and opened the gates for us to recruit Arkansas. When we left Ole Miss, there were six Arkansas players, three of them starters.”
Just like he did when recruited by Pennell at Helena, Boone is excited about following him to Arkansas.
“It was tough at first to think about leaving Arizona,” said Boone, who was an assistant to Pennell at Grand Canyon State and the Phoenix Mercury. “But I see opportunities here and I am happy to be coming home.”
He feels he and Pennell complement erach other.
“What drew me here is what drew me to Ole Miss,” Boone said. “We want to create a family atmosphere. Athletes and coaches, we are all family. I think that’s how you create cohesiveness on a team. We’re family.”