SI Vault
 
New Day Dawns In Arkansas
Phil Taylor
January 13, 1992
After a two-month suspension, Arkansas swingman Todd Day dazzled on the court but still brooded away from it
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
January 13, 1992

New Day Dawns In Arkansas

After a two-month suspension, Arkansas swingman Todd Day dazzled on the court but still brooded away from it

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

Day was his usual extroverted self on the floor, gesturing to the crowd, patting referees on the backside, alternately chatting up and staring down Auburn players. It's a style that has earned him a reputation as a cocky trash-talker and has irritated more than a few opponents.

"I don't do as much talking as I used to, but the talking I do is usually part of a mind game," Day says. "Ninety-five percent of the time I get a guy so mad at me that he gets overaggressive trying to stop me, and then I've got him."

Still, Day knows that his on-court demeanor won't help his standing with NBA people—Los Angeles Laker G.M. Jerry West has publicly suggested that Day play more and talk less—which is why Day has attempted to tone down his act. He even tried wearing a mouthpiece for a time last season to make himself less talkative, but he wasn't comfortable playing that way.

"The talking comes from his self-confidence," Richardson says. "I've never seen a great player who wasn't a little arrogant. He's not a belligerent guy, he just kind of irritates guys who play against him."

And somewhere beneath the surface, there's a part of Day that must enjoy being an irritant. If not, he wouldn't have worn a University of Miami T-shirt around Razorback football players the day after they were routed by the Hurricanes last season. Or maybe that's the fun-loving Day, the guy his teammates say keeps the team loose. "He and O [Miller] are the funniest guys on the team," says guard Lee Mayberry, the other half of Arkansas's lethal May-Day tandem.

But away from his teammates, Day has a hard time finding humor these days. "I don't think it will ever be quite the same for him here," Richardson says. "I think Todd will finish out his career and get his degree [in communications], but I don't think you'll see him carrying any Arkansas flags. Too much has happened."

As Day left Barnhill on Saturday, signing autographs as he walked, a woman tried to get through the cluster surrounding him so he could sign her homemade poster. Finally she pushed the cardboard through the crowd to her target, and Day quickly scribbled his name. She thanked him, then said, "Welcome back, Todd."

But by then, Day was already too far away to hear.

1 2