Darrell Walker kept his word again.
On Monday, he was in Atlanta to watch graduation ceremonies at Clark Atlanta University, where he was the head basketball coach before taking the job at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2018.
"I told their parents that if they came to Clark and played for me, that I would make sure that they got their degree," Walker said. "So, I'm holding up my end of the bargain."
After spending 10 years playing in the NBA and another 13 more as a coach, Walker was told he needed a college degree to coach at UALR. He returned to the University of Arkansas and graduated.
The UALR job came open again, and he was told he needed college coaching experience.
An artist friend in Atlanta suggested Walker look at Clark. He was 45-18 in two seasons there, and his teams qualified both seasons for the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Last year was his first year at UALR, but he didn't forget the promise he made to his first recruiting class.
Walker has made Little Rock home since he left the UA in 1983, choosing to raise his family here rather than move them every time he had to make a change in the NBA.
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With 100 days before the Arkansas Razorbacks kick off against Portland State, there are a total of 91 players on the roster, which will go up in the next few days.
That number includes walk-ons.
Currently, there are 21 seniors, 21 juniors, 20 sophomores, 16 redshirt freshmen and 13 true freshmen.
Some of the freshmen have not graduated from high school, so they have not been added to the roster.
Several of the redshirt freshmen played in parts of four games last year, such as Noah Gatlin, who was forced to start at right tackle for a couple of games.
Gatlin was just 17 years old when he reported last year. He's still 6-7 but has gained 12 pounds of muscle. He is an athletic offensive lineman with a vertical jump of 30 inches and a 40-yard dash time of 5.2 seconds.
While much has been made about the incoming class, there are players across the roster who are expected to be difference-makers this year.
Other than the incoming freshmen, everyone knows what is expected of them by head Coach Chad Morris. They know his system. Early reports are there are no bellies, and several players have increased how many reps they get in a 225-pound bench press.
Strength and conditioning were issues last season but should not be this year, but this is still a process.
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It is no secret the prestigious Arnold Palmer Cup will be played at the Alotian Club on June 7-9.
The event is open to the public and tickets are $50 for all three days. They are transferable.
Not only is this an opportunity to see one of the top private golf courses in the world, but to also see some of the best male and female golfers in the world.
The easiest way to purchase tickets is go to arnoldpalmercup.com and follow the link to tickets.
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More than 400 will gather tonight in the Benton Events Center to celebrate the latest class of inductees into the Arkansas Softball Hall of Fame.
That officially kicks off the biggest weekend of a softball-baseball tournament in the state. Play starts Friday.
The Wally Hall Tournament of Champions has more than 200 teams this year.
Shane Pigue, tournament director, has held the tournament in Benton for the past 14 years, but another city has shown interest in hosting next year and boosting its economy by between $3 million and $5 million.
Sports on 05/23/2019