When most people think of Northwest Arkansas, there are a few things that jump to mind. Most don't know that Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, is based in Bentonville, Arkansas. 15 minutes south on I540 you find the world's second largest processor of chicken, beef, and pork, Tyson Foods, in Springdale, Arkansas. Just south of that is the University of Arkansas located in Fayetteville. Pretty incredible in a state our size.
The big 3 for me are 3 basketball guys that have been a great influence on me and are also having a great impact on our game in the collegiate level. These guys are examples of hard work, a willingness to teach, and a great example of servant leadership. Here's my big 3 from the corner.
# 1 Jimmy Dykes @JimmyDykesLive
Jimmy might be the hardest working guy I know. I don't know of another person that is more prepared and more professional than he is. He is a Coaches' Announcer. He talks the game as we as coaches see it and in my case, a lot of what I don't see. I use his games as a weekly clinic. Even more impressive than his basketball knowledge is the way he lives his life as an open book. He's as authentic as it gets. His hard work and work ethic are examples of why he has achieved so much.
#2 Matt Zimmerman @CoachZ_ARKANSAS
I don't know if I've ever met someone so dedicated to his job than Zim. Coach Z is a gym-rat, even as a Division 1 coach. He loves basketball. He lives it, breathes it and is a great teacher of the game. I''m lucky enough to be able to attend practice and watch his drills. His precision and attention to detail are second to none. Coach Z is an example of how being loyal and a hard worker pays off. He went from being a student manager at Arkansas to being a small school head coach to being an assistant coach at his alma mater.
#3 Mike Neighbors @coachneighbors
I would be willing to bet Coach Neighbors couldn't pick me out of a lineup. I've only been around him a couple of times since he coaches out on the west coast. Coach Neighbors is a great, if not the greatest example of spreading our game. His weekly newsletter touches thousands of coaches from around the world. The time he spends on making sure to share any and all of his basketball knowledge is a great example to us all of how we can improve our game by sharing.
Next blog I'll get back to talking some situations and thoughts. I just wanted to take time to show my respect to 3 guys from Arkansas who have made a huge impact on me and our game.