Although basketball may be returning to South Arkansas Community College, it may just be scratching the surface of what could be coming in the future.
Derek Moore, vice president of student services and athletic director at SouthArk, said that adding other sports has been mentioned, but getting basketball established is first on the agenda.
“It has been discussed,” Moore said. “We certainly want to start with basketball to get a foundation. From a visionary standpoint, we are looking at the feasibility of adding additional sports. One of the things that we’ll have to look at is competition. What other schools within our region have certain sports? For instance, if we look at baseball or softball, where is the competition? Where will it come from? Will it come from in-state or Mississippi, Texas or Louisiana? It would be great to have other sports, but again, we want to get our foundation set first with basketball.”
The Stars will spend their first season playing at the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado.
“We were fortunate to have a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club,” Moore said. “David Lee, who is the executive director, we met with him and he agreed to allow us to come in in this inaugural season to play there. The good thing about the Boys & Girls Club, it’s less than a mile from campus and it’s on a main drag here in the city of El Dorado. The collaboration is great, so that’s where we’ll be playing this inaugural season.”
How long the Stars play there will depend on if the school will be able to renovate its gym on campus, something Moore said the college is looking into.
“That timeframe, we hope that if we receive notice that we will get the funding and the renovation, it may take a year or so, so we’re still maybe the 2020-21 season from looking at the possibility of playing in the gym,” Moore said.
“A couple of things that we would need to do as far as regulation size, baseline, things of that nature, so that’s something that we’ll take another look at. We certainly want to be able to practice in that facility when it’s renovated. We’ll just have to see what those possibilities are throughout the renovation process. It would be great to play on campus. We’ve just got to look at the dimensions and things of that nature.”
When asked if the school looked at other spots to potentially serve as its home, Moore said he spoke with Phillip Lansdell, the athletic director at El Dorado, but with Wildcat Arena serving as the home for the volleyball team in the fall and the basketball teams during winter, scheduling became a major obstacle.
“We didn’t communicate per se outside of the city of El Dorado,” Moore said. “One of the things we wanted to look at was proximity, so the Boys & Girls Club was perfect as it relates to proximity from the college. We did have some communications with Phillip Lansdell with El Dorado High. It’s a nice facility and we would love to play there, but the scheduling is one of the bigger issues there. They use that gym at El Dorado High not only for the high school teams, but JV teams as well as junior high teams, so one of the things that we looked at for our student-athletes was the availability of practice times and game times. That’s something that we talked about. We looked at it, but the scheduling was the biggest issue.”
Since making the announcement that basketball was returning, Moore said the response from former players has been overwhelming.
“I wasn’t here in the area when they first had basketball, but from some of the conversations with those who were here and were familiar with it, there’s an excitement that’s building,” Moore said. “For those who were there at that time and hearing now about this opportunity, they are excited about it.”