It’s time now for the fourth and final installment of our Q&A with former Arkansas basketball player Greg Skulman (here’s part 1, part 2 and part 3). (Rumor has it that this Q&A has so gripped the sports world that even NFL draft savant Mel Kiper Jr. has totally blown off his preparation for Saturday’s big event.) Today, Greg recounts the Hogs’ “moderately rowdy” off-the-court ways. We don’t know about you, but we’re ready for a Skulman, Hastings, Dykes and Pennell reunion concert. Many, many thanks to Greg for his time and memories.
Which one of the three teams that you were on was the best team?
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Probably the team my junior year, the year that U.S. Reed made that shot. We went the farthest in the NCAA Tournament. We won the Southwest Conference championship.
U.S. Reed was a heck of a player. It was the same kind of a deal as me — he was always out of position in high school. But he was able to make more of a transition. Eddie allowed him to, also.
He played center in high school at Pine Bluff, and he was 6’2”. That dude was an unbelievable jumper. He did a lot of great things in college, but he couldn’t make that transition to the NBA mostly because he wasn’t a true guard. He became a really good outside shooter but needed to be set to shoot. He wasn’t great at creating a shot off the dribble and that doomed his chances for the next level.
Give us some insight into the personality of your teammates. Who was the funniest? The locker room leaders?
Funniest would have to be Hastings, definitely. He was absolutely a nut. He was the consummate cut-up. He was so funny. We all had a lot of fun, and Hastings was usually in the middle of it. He would have to be considered a team leader. U.S. Reed was also a team leader.
How would you characterize the overall personality of those teams. Were you guys fairly rowdy off the court, or were you choir boys?
I’d say moderately rowdy. Definitely not choir boys! Usually Hastings was the ringleader.
I’ve heard some crazier stories from guys who were there a few years before me. There was a guy named Mike Buckrop, who was apparently out of his cotton-pickin’ mind. I’ve heard just some unbelievable stories about him. Alan Zahn could tell you more — he has some great Buckrop stories from his days.
As far as my group, it was typical guy stuff for the time: Lots of parties and beer drinking. Always keeping an eye out for the girls!
We would do float trips on War Eagle River with plenty of ice chests in tow. Also spent a lot of time just hanging in each other’s dorm rooms cutting up. That was a great, carefree time.
You know, we drank a lot of beer but it just didn’t seem to affect us much. Being young and working out as hard as we did had a lot to do with that!
Who of your ex-teammates do you keep in touch with?
Zahn. He’s a police officer in Tulsa. That’s the only guy that I really keep up with. As matter of fact, I was over at Zahn’s house one time, and we got to talking, just kind of like you and I are talking, about all this crazy stuff, just laughing. We called up Hastings, and we talked with him. This has been several years ago.
But I don’t really talk with Hastings or anybody else. Zahn’s the guy.
This is kind of a random question, but are there certain songs or movies or anything that you see or hear and that make you think of that time in your life?
Absolutely, songs especially. I play guitar, and Hastings could actually sing. He could keep a tune. And Jimmy Dykes was a really good singer — later, Jimmy actually tried to pursue a country and western career in Nashville that didn’t work out. But he could really sing.
Do you remember a guy named Russ Pennell?
Oh yeah. The Arizona coach.
That’s right. Russ was a walk-on on our team for one season, and he could really sing.
Well, we had a little quartet or trio. I played guitar, and we’d do a lot of three-part harmony singing.
There were some songs that we worked on and did a lot. We did “We Just Disagree” by Dave Mason, and we did “Crazy Love” by Poco. Those songs have some great harmonies. Those were two for sure that we sang, and when I hear them I’m reminded of days long ago in the dorm room with old friends.
If our calculations are correct, you were in Fayetteville when an important moment in Arkansas hair history occurred: that’s when Eddie Sutton’s hair went from straight to curly. We were wondering what was the team’s reaction the first time that he appeared in front of you guys with a perm. Did you have to suppress laughs?
Well actually, I don’t remember being part of that. I think he’d done that just before I’d gotten there. Alan Zahn could definitely tell you about that. I’m pretty sure when I got there that he had already had that perm. So, all that had already happened, so I don’t know what the reaction was.
Well, that’s all the more reason for us to talk to Alan Zahn.
(more at www.razorbackexpats.com)