While looking for video of Paul Eells [That's right autocorrect, it's Eells, not Eels. He's a legend not an aquatic animal.] and former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson working together on the old Rollin' With Nolan coach's show, a gem from the internet popped up as they do from time to time.
What was found is like stumbling upon a rare Mayan artifact sticking up out of the sand. Apparently, Richardson put together a VHS tape teaching young kids how to play basketball and gave it the same name as his coach's show.
Someone out there in the cyberverse got their hands on this thing and uploaded it to little fanfare. That's all about to change now though because with a day to kill before football season cranks up and a week before the Razorback basketball team tests out its foreign language skills, we give the people of Arkansas Christmas in Slightly Past July.
Not only will the nostalgia-longing part of the crowd find a most wonderful gift under the tree, but a whole new generation of young men and women will get to learn from Richardson instead of from dear old dad who's doing his best to mimic whatever he saw Michael Jordan do in the '90s.
There are three things you will notice right from the tip.
1. That's a pretty sweet Razorback polo Richardson is rocking.
2. The canned music in the background had to have been pulled straight out of an 80s jazzercise video.
3. The PR guys must have told Richardson minutes before they started filming to not forget this tape is marketed to girls also because he makes a point to add a nice "or girl" at the end of each point.
You then find out Richardson has beef, but not in the modern day sense. It's an acronym he uses for shooting that will be impossible to get out of your head if you were around for the old Wendy's campaign with the the little old ladies in the drive-thru.
From now on, if you hear that word, you will picture Richardson riding Pat Bradley during shooting drills.
"Where's the beef, Pat? You gotta have beef if you're gonna be the 'shoota' I brought you all the way down here to be!"
As Richardson works his way through the shooting drills, he stops down to teach a group of young ladies perfect form with the elbow. That's when you realize "Holy basketballs Batman, Nolan Richardson is left-handed!"
Having watched or listened to every game this man coached with the Razorbacks, it was stunning to have never realized this. Maybe his fashion sense on the sideline was so enamoring that it never made sense to look at his hands beyond when he was clapping to emphasize a point to his players.
The sad part is seeing his lesson on how to properly use the guide hand brings so much regret.
If only this VHS could have made its way to Warren in the early '90s. So many neighborhood street pick-up games and YMCA rec/church league battles would have ended differently.
How was a kid from South Arkansas supposed to know to get the guide hand out of the way early and shoot in such a way that the ball automatically bounced right back to you without Richardson's guidance? We were all terrible and it didn't have to be that way.
The video even goes into one of the signature moves of those late '80s early '90s Razorback teams, the jump stop. This is one part of the film that it wouldn't hurt for current coach Eric Musselman to steal for his own team's purpose.
There's also a drill for people who just want to lay in bed and magically be a better basketball player when they get out. It's hard to shake that feeling that at some point in the next week, a wife somewhere will be yelling at her husband to stop flipping the ball into the air while in bed, only to break his concentration and her nose all with one comment.
Perhaps the best thing about the video is each time Richardson or a staff member talks about or teaches a technique, it's highlighted with b-roll of the Todd Day, Lee Mayberry, Oliver Miller Razorback team utilizing those skills.
Not only does it jog the memory of how gifted and athletic those players were, but it also brings an understanding to the thought process and philosophy behind the tools Richardson not only wanted his players to have, but that they needed.
While so many fans thought Richardson just rolled the balls out onto the court and told them to run hard on offense while he focused solely on defense, nothing could be further from the truth. This video reveals the tactician Richardson was and the art it took to weave all these specific skills that some coaches were afraid to teach at the time into a thing of athletic beauty.
All those baseball passes that led to dunks and lay-ups didn't just happen on the fly. They were practiced as routinely as dribbling to create perfection and proper brain recognition for when to take the shot and when to pull it down.
It also becomes obvious that Richardson dreams about ball spin. The spin of the ball and the proper technique down to the slightest angle of the thumbs is broken down to make sure the rotation is perfect in both shooting and passing.
The video concludes with questions that are quickly answered. With Richardson so well known as a master of defense, it's hard to imagine why the university would put out a tape on basketball fundamentals with no mention of anything other than offensive skills.
That's when it's revealed this is part of a series of videos made by Richardson. Somewhere in this world are additional VHS cassettes with the former head Hog teaching motivation, pressure defense, fast break basketball, multiple zone defenses, and basketball strength and conditioning.
If those videos can be found, they'd be worth their weight in gold. But for now, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, we can all at least enjoy this gem.
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