FAYETTEVILLE -- It won't be the usual men's basketball exhibition game when the University of Arkansas plays in Walton Arena on Oct. 20.
There is going to be some extra anticipation because it's the first time new Coach Eric Musselman will lead the Razorbacks against another team.
It won't be an NCAA Division II team, either.
Arkansas is playing the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Yes, it's an exhibition game, but it's the first time the Razorbacks and Trojans have met in men's basketball.
It also will be a homecoming for UALR Coach Darrell Walker, an All-American guard for the Razorbacks as a senior during the 1982-83 season.
But the most notable aspect of the game is that prior to the 3 p.m. tipoff, there will be a ceremony to unveil Walton Arena court in honor of Nolan Richardson, the coach who in 17 seasons led Arkansas to a school-record 389 victories, 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, three trips to the Final Four and the 1994 national championship.
"My guys get to see the Nolan Richardson Court unveiling," Walker said. "That's going to be special.
"I'm going to make sure my players all know about Nolan Richardson and his career and what he's all about."
Richardson was the first black coach of a major basketball program in the South when he was hired at Arkansas in the spring of 1985 from the University of Tulsa.
ARKANSAS MEN’S BASKETBALL
WHAT Arkansas vs. UALR exhibition game
WHEN 3 p.m. Oct. 20
WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville
ADMISSION $10 general admission, first-come, first-served seating with the excepiton of those with suites or courtside seats
NOTABLE Nolan Richardson Court will be unveiled prior to tipoff … Gates will open at 1:30 p.m. … Proceeds from the game will be donated to charity for those impacted by the flooding in Arkansas in the spring.
"He helped pave the path for a lot of other African-American coaches," Walker said. "I'm always going to be indebted to Nolan."
The UA System Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution in the spring to name the court in Richardson's honor, but at date for the ceremony wasn't announced until Wednesday.
Arkansas also announced it will play a second exhibition game against Southwestern Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in Walton Arena. That's the Friday night before the Razorbacks' road football game at Alabama.
Arkansas and UALR received a waiver from the NCAA for the two Division I programs to play an exhibition game because all proceeds will be donated to charity benefiting Arkansans impacted by flooding last spring.
The game is not part of the Razorbacks' 2019-20 season ticket package. All tickets are $10, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served general admission basis excluding the suites, courtside seats and seats reserved by the athletic department.
People who have a suite or courtside seats may purchase those tickets by contacting the Razorback Ticket Center, according to a news release.
"I think it's just really good for everybody in the state of Arkansas," Walker said of the Razorbacks playing the Trojans. "We're thankful that the University of Arkansas is giving us an opportunity to play this exhibition game.
"It's going to be fun and it's going to be exciting for both teams," Walker said. "I'm looking forward to it. I hope the whole state of Arkansas is looking forward to it."
College teams had their first practices Tuesday.
"I know by the time we play, both of our teams are going to be tired of beating up on each other," Walker said. "It'll be good to play against a different opponent.
"The best thing about it is you get to play a game and break down some film and see what you need to work on with our team."
Walker is going into his second season as UALR's coach. Musselman was Nevada's coach the previous four seasons.
"Two coaches definitely trying to get their programs going," Walker said. "Eric's trying to get Arkansas back to where it used to be, and I'm trying to get UALR going again.
"So it's an intriguing game, and hopefully the fans will come out and support it because it's raising money for a good cause, too."
Walker, a Chicago native, played as freshman at Westark Community College [now the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith], then transferred to Arkansas where in three seasons he helped the Razorbacks go a combined 73-18.
"I'm excited to be coming back to Fayetteville and be coaching on the sidelines in Bud Walton Arena and see a bunch of fans that I played for," Walker said. "It's going to be a unique experience."
Sports on 09/26/2019
Print Headline: Hogs, Trojans set exhibition contest; Nolan Richardson Court dedicated Oct. 20