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In-State Hogs: Recent History of In-State Talent at the University of Arkansas

With the expectation that all four in-state commitments will sign their letters of intent, the Arkansas Razorbacks look to have eight scholarship players on roster from the state since the 1976-1977 season.

This speaks volumes on the amount of talent the state produces in the sport consistently, particularly when examining the Arkansas products on next year’s roster. Of the eight, three are NBA draft prospects so far (Isaiah Joe, Connor Vanover, Moses Moody) and five were four-star recruits out of high school. The 1976-1977 roster included some of the greatest names in Arkansas history: Ron Brewer, Marvin Delph, and Sidney Moncrief. The triplets combined with five other players from all over the state to go 26-2 that year, ending in a first round exit from the NCAA Tournament despite an undefeated record in the SWC.

The next year, that Arkansan-led Razorback team made in to the Final Four with six in-state players. What does this say about the potential success of the current roster?

Looking at the seasons since 1976-1977 where the Razorbacks made at least the Sweet Sixteen, there were a few correlations between success and in-state talent, but not always production from that in-state talent.

For instance, in the 1978-1979 season the Razorbacks had four in-state scholarship players and all four were in the top seven in scoring on the roster. That season ended with an elite eight appearance. However, in the 1989-1990 season that ended in a Final Four birth, there was one in-state scholarship player, Ernie Murray, who was ninth on the team in scoring. Only three of the top ten scorers in program history have been from Arkansas: Sidney Moncrief (2nd), Marvin Delph (7th), and Corliss Williamson (8th).

Taking away the outliers, the initial 1976 season and the 1989 season, in the seasons the Razorbacks made it past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, there was an average of just over four in-state players on each roster (4.125) with just 22.4% of in-state players being key scoring contributors. This was primarily evident in Nolan Richardson’s tenure. In the three years of a sweet sixteen followed by back-to-back national title appearances, only one of the in-state players was a scoring contributor: Corliss Williamson in each of those years.

When including the best five seasons since 1976 where the program did not make it to the sweet sixteen, in-state players were the primary contributors for Coach Sutton and Coach Anderson, but not Coach Richardson.

Of course, it is to be determined just how talented the incoming Arkansas recruiting class will be at the college level, but on paper they look to add to the legacy of in-state production for the University of Arkansas.

Moving forward, Coach Musselman looks to continue utilizing the talent within the Natural State, with five reported scholarship offers to in-state prospects in the 2022 class.

Full data below:

Sweet Sixteen or Better Teams:

1978-1979

  • four in-state players
  • All four in top 7 scoring
  • Elite eight

1980-1981

  • Four in-state players
  • two in top 7 scoring
  • Sweet sixteen

1982-1983

  • Three in-state players
  • Three in top 8 scoring
  • Sweet sixteen

1989-1990

  • one in-state player (Ernie Murray)
  • 9th in scoring (4.0 ppg)
  • Final four

1990-1991

  • three in-state players
  • One in top 8 scoring (Murray) one redshirt (Davor Rimac), one freshman (Ken Biley 3.1 ppg)
  • Elite eight 

1992-1993

  • Five in-state players
  • One in top 7 scoring (Williamson)
  • Sweet sixteen

1993-1994

  • five in-state players
  • One in top 7 scoring (Williamson)
  • NCAA Champions

1994-1995

  • five in-state players
  • One in top 7 scoring (Williamson)
  • NCAA Runner Up

1995-1996

  • four in-state players
  • None in top 7 scoring
  • sweet sixteen

Winning teams that didn’t advance past the second round:

1983-1984 (25-7)

  • three in-state players
  • All in top 6 scoring
  • Second round

1988-1989 (25-7)

  • one in-state player
  • Third in scoring (13.1 ppg)
  • Second round

1991-1992 (26-8)

  • two in-state players
  • Neither in top 7 scoring
  • Second round 

2014-2015 (27-9)

  • six in-state players
  • Four in top 6 scoring
  • Second round

2016-2017 (26-10)

  • five in-state players
  • Four in top 6 scoring
  • Second round

Jackson Collier
Jackson is a soon-to-be law student with an academic background in journalism, English, and history. He played basketball through high school at Little Rock Catholic and enjoys writing and talking about sports. His pipe dream is to be a college or high school basketball coach.