This week, he stopped by the RN Studios to speak with, Aaron Peters, to give us an update on his progress.
Aaron Peters- Alright, welcome back into the Razorback Nation PigTrail Show, we love having special guest in our studio for our Sunday night Pigtrail Show that's exactly what we've got this time around. Kikko Haydar joining me in studio. Of course, a lot of people know your name in this area. Played at Fayetteville High School. Walked on at the University of Arkansas, that became a special career for you at the University of Arkansas. We'll that about that in a minute, but first just signed a professional contract over in Lebanon with Sagesse. Talk to us about what that's like, what the dynamicas are, and how excited you are about that."
Kikko Haydar- Former Arkansas Basketball Player- "Well first of all it's just a blessing to be able to continue my career. Especially in a place I'm very familiar with, you know, it's where my family hails from so I'm very excited. I got to go for a month in June and I'm just working hard, trying to take the next step."
Aaron Peters- Kikko signed his professional contract in April. Did go overseas. Very familiar with that area as he mentioned, so when he goes back in September he'll already have his feet wet. Going in there kinda knowing what to expect.
Kikko Haydar- Former Arkansas Basketball Player- "Exactly. That was the whole thing of going for the month. I knew I really wasnt going to play very much, but it was a chance to learn a little bit about the professional game and it's different than college, especially in a country that I havent been in for a while. So, it was a learning experience and definitely gets me ready for the season."
Aaron Peters- Kikko moving on to the pro ranks. Let's talk a little bit about your career here at Arkansas. What a special time it must have been for you. You walked on. I'll say it right now- no one thought you could do it. You became a team captian and then filled up the stat sheets, especially per minute if you want to look at it that way. How did that all come about?
Kikko Haydar- Former Arkansas Basketball Player- "Well, it wasnt easy. it definitely wasnt easy. There were a lot of long nights where I didnt think it would ever happen, But i just remember thinking to myself. I'm going to work as hard as I can and if it happens, great, but if it doesnt at least I got to wear the jersey, and it just kind of all fell into place because if hard work and I'm thankful."
Aaron Peters- You were that guy that was the first in the gym and the last to leave those first couple of years, not getting any minutes on the floor, but you're still working so hard. How did you not let your mind give up and say this isnt going to happen it's not cut out for me, I'm, not getting my shot- but you never did that.
Kikko Haydar- Former Arkansas Basketball Player- "No, you know, I think I have a very strong support system. my family was tremendous during the whole process, but like I said there were a lot of tough times. There were a lot of times where I second guessed myself and I was always able to keep pushing through it and eventually I got a chance and it all worked out."
Aaron Peters- Kikko ended up playing in 65 career games at Arkansas, started four of those games, by the way all four of the games he started they won. He hit 58 career 3-pointers. Just hitting one 3-pointer would feel so good playing for an SEC team, but your career high against LSU 15 points. Just talk about making those shots, makig the defense respect you and not being on that scouting report and then proving them wrong.
Kikko Haydar- Former Arkansas Basketball Player- "You know, Ive always kinda liked the underdog role. It started like that ever since I played basketball. Nobody expected much out of me, so, it's nice to be able to come out of nowhere and surpirse some people, but I have to thank my teammates and my coaches that believed in me and gave me the opportunity."
Aaron Peters- Speaking of those coaches and the belief from those coaches, Coach Pelphrey was the one that gave you the opportunity to walk on, and then there was a coaching change, and Coach Anderson was the one that made you team captian for two years. Talk about getting that chance from one coach, the difficulty of the change, and then Anderson coming in and making you a captian.
Kikko Haydar- Former Arkansas Basketball Player- "Well, you know, I will always thank Coach Pelphrey for giving me the chance because with out him I wouldnt never have been a Razorback, and you know, things didnt go the way he wanted to, and Coach Anderson came in, but like I said I'll always thank him for that. And Coach Anderson. Him and I have a really good relationship. he was kind of like a savior for me when he came in. His style fit me perfectly. And he just preached hard work and if you work hard you get a chance and he put his money where his mouth is and I just worked hard and he finally gave me a chance and I can never thank him enough."
Aaron Peters- Alright lets talk about the program moving forward. Where did Kikko leave the Razorbacks? Is this program on the right track? You nearly missed the NCAA tournament last year and this year everyone is counting on them making it. Talk about the pressure that maybe Coach Anderson is feeling and if you think the team is on the right track.
Kikko Haydar- Former Arkansas Basketball Player- "I think there is always pressure, especially when you havent been on the tournament in six or seven years I think it's been. And we just barely missed it. Some think we shouldve made it. I think we should've made it, but each and every year Coach Anderson has been here there's been improvement. This was the first 21 win season in a long time, first time to win at Kentucky in 20 years, first time to win at Mississippi State in a long time so the program is on the right path and Ive been watching the guys work out and working very hard. They know what they need to do and Coach Anderson is putting them in the right place."