Eric Musselman Can Thank The Mavericks’ Mark Cuban for Wild Recruiting Idea

Mark Cuban, Eric Musselman, Arkansas basketball
photo credit: Instagram/Shark Tank / Arkansas Athletics

Rolling out the red carpet for the enemy at first glance doesn’t seem like a solid strategy for winning championships, but in today’s college basketball landscape it just may work.

The Arkansas basketball program is always seeking ways to get just a little bit better than the competition and under head coach Eric Musselman it has been ahead of the curve in social media marketing and navigating the transfer portal, even if the returns so far this year are subpar.

Could better locker rooms for visitors be next?

It’s an idea that Musselman threw out during his Monday coach’s show, “Eric Musselman Live,” when asked a question about how big a role facilities still play in the recruitment of players given how much they will also receive via the NIL route.

Mark Cuban and Mavericks’ Different Approach

He brought up how Mark Cuban, the minority owner of the Dallas Mavericks, looked at marketing his own team through a lens that highly unusual for most sports team leaders. When Cuban was the Mavericks’ majority owner, he became known as a someone who stop at nothing to deliver the height of luxury into laps of his guys. That included pumping locker rooms with re-oxygenated air, fragrances and even using ambient lighting to promote focus.

In a move that would make even Jerry Jones jealous, Cuban also bought a Boeing 757 for his players that he filled with a weight room, catered meals, and a facility for trainers to provide medical treatment.

The unusual part is that he also felt it was ultimately a good move to lavish opposing teams too. If opponents wanted to work out before the game they could do so in the Mavericks’ weight room. They also had free access to Mavericks’ training room to get taped up or even get a quick massage.

Cuban also provided them with a nice spread of food and even nice bath robes with the Dallas Mavericks logo on them. “I was super impressed with what he did for the road teams,” recalled Musselman, a former head coach of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors.

Mark Cuban did all of this because he wanted to create an impression of the Mavericks being a high-class organization that could come in handy once certain players became free agents.

Applying the Same Logic to Arkansas Basketball

Nowadays, this same logic can apply to college basketball.

There’s free agency with transfers,” Musselman added on Monday night. “You want somebody to walk out of your facilities and thinking it’s really good.”

Now, the Razorbacks wouldn’t exactly provide the same posh treatment that the Mavericks can afford, but there are simple upgrades that Arkansas could employ.

“I think that a simple upgrade in the opposing team’s locker room, putting a nice TV in the opposing team’s locker room… You never know, somebody could walk in and [think] ‘Wow, these facilities are really good here.'”

There are already plans for an overall upgrade to Bud Walton Arena in the coming years, but it sounds like a targeted upgrade for the visitors locker room is something Musselman would also like to see.

“I hope that that gets addressed and the opposing team can have a different feel than what they have right now, because our opposing locker room is below standards, quite frankly, for what I would want people who come into and out of our building would feel.”

The next opponents to walk into and out Bud Walton Arena are the Tennessee Volunteers, who may have a few players that could be the kind of potential future transfers that click on a future Musselman team. The 6’8″ 250 pound Tobe Awaka, for instance, is the kind of big, physical presence Arkansas needs more of.

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