Little Rock in the national spotlight for NCAA win | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 18, 2016

Little Rock in the national spotlight for NCAA win

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 10:17 AM

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Little Rock's double overtime upset of Purdue in the opening round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament is getting headline coverage everywhere, but this Sports Illustrated account — with lots of background on players and coach Chris Beard — is the best I've read today.

The recounting of a pre-season getting-to-know-each-other retreat at Petit Jean was  entertaining. Snippet:

 They packed into a cabin with bunk beds, put away their phones and listened to each other’s stories. They were from all over, from Louisiana, to Quebec, to Eastern Europe, but they realized, junior center Lis Shoshi said, that they had something in common: “Everyone had been through some tough things.”

They were misfits who had endured. Beard, a former Bob Knight assistant at Texas Tech, had bounced through D-II, junior college and even a season in the ABA before finally getting his D-I head coaching shot at Little Rock. Shoshi had transferred in from a juco but long before that, as a 4-year-old in 1999, had escaped Kosovo with his family during its civil war. “I think my teammates at first figured Kosovo was some paradise in Europe,” Shoshi said, “but once they heard my story, they understood.”

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