The season ended 10 days ago with a win over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. Arkansas finished 20-12 with games left on the table due to the coronavirus outbreak. But why has it taken me so long to write an article to recap the season? Truthfully, I was too sad to admit it was over. I was heartbroken for the seniors and the entire team being unable to leave it all on the floor. This has been my favorite Arkansas team in a long time. First year Head Coach Eric Musselman got the most out of this year’s squad. He had them playing with incredible effort. I think that is why I loved this team so much. The effort and energy was there every night.
Arkansas had about as good of a non-conference season as you could ask for. The Hogs accumulated a 12-1 record with wins at Georgia Tech and Indiana. If Arkansas had been able to finish against Western Kentucky, they would have been undefeated in non-conference play.
SEC play was a different story for Arkansas. It was a season of what ifs. What if Conner Vanover had been cleared to play this season? What if Isaiah Joe wasn’t hurt for 5 games in SEC play? What if COVID-19 didn’t end the season before the Hogs had a chance to make a run in the SEC Tournament? Sadly, we will never know the answer to those questions.
For now, Arkansas fans can take comfort in the coaching ability of Eric Musselman and his ability to coach the roster he has to the best of their abilities.
By The Numbers
- Arkansas created an identity of defending the 3 as it finished #1 in the country in opponent 3 point percentage.
- Mason Jones is the first Razorback to win the SEC scoring title at 22 points per game.
- Adrio Bailey finishes his career as one of five Razorbacks to have 100+ blocks and 90+ steals.
The only departing Hog that spent his entire college career on The Hill. That is a rare thing in college hoops today. Especially at the High Major level. Adrio Bailey peaked this season. Eric Musselman defined his role and Bailey took it by storm. He played really good defense all season despite being undersized for his position. In the end, Hog fans will remember Adrio’s big smile and his ability to just have fun despite the pressures to perform at a high level in the SEC. Thank you Adrio!
Whitt has one of the most unique stories in college basketball. Jimmy had an outstanding senior year. He was tasked with guarding the star player of every opposing team. Hog fans will miss that fadeaway jumper. Thank you Jimmy!
Cylla was the first commitment to Arkansas for Eric Musselman. While it wasn’t the season that Jeantal wanted, Hog fans can be thankful for his belief in Muss and helping lay the foundation for the future. Thank you Jeantal!
Bell joined the basketball team after football season ended as a walk-on. Bell had spent 4 years on the gridiron playing defensive line for the Hogs. Bell was a standout on the court in high school at Junction City High School. Jamario was a constant encourage on the bench this season. Thank you Jamario!
Success On The Road
New Head Coach Eric Musselman had some unprecedented success for first year Arkansas coaches on the road. Arkansas went 4-8 on the road this season. Here is how long it took 21st Century Arkansas Head Coaches to earn their 4th road win
Stan Heath – 25 road games to get his 4th road win.
John Pelphrey – 23 road games to get his 4th road win.
Mike Anderson – 27 road games to get his 4th road win.
Eric Musselman – 7 road games to get his 4th road win.
Davonte “Devo” Davis(High School Signee)
Davis is a 6-4 guard from Jacksonville who has signed his Letter of Intent. Davis is a flashy player with the ability to get to the basket. Devo needs to improve his shooting ability to be a next level player in the SEC.
A Stretch 5 that can shoot the 3 ball as good as anyone. He will give the Hogs some added size, but don’t expect Vanover to be a rebounding machine. The spacing he will add on the offensive end will create driving lanes for his teammates.
Abayomi “Baybe” Iyiola(Transfer)
Baybe is a stretch 4 that has a good mid-range game and battle for boards.
Notae is a scoring guard by way of transfer. J.D. will have 2 years of eligibility left. He is good in isolation situations, but needs to be a more consistent shooter. Eric Musselman will have plenty of pieces to choose from at the guard spot.
Moses Moody(High School Verbal Commit)
Moody is the highest rated prospect of Arkansas’ #6 rated 2020 class. Moody is a smooth shooter with average athleticism and high basketball IQ. Creating his own shot will need the most work at the next level.
K.K. Robinson(High School Verbal Commit)
K.K. is a smooth, High-IQ point guard who can shoot the cover off the ball. He may be a little undersized, but that doesn’t stop him from going to the basket and playing good defense.
Jaylin Williams(High School Verbal Commit)
The big man out of Fort Smith will battle on the boards and challenge anyone defensively. He is still very raw on the offensive end.
Looking towards next year, Arkansas should have more depth and shooting. We don’t know what may happen in the transfer portal. It would be reasonable to expect a Hog or two to be transferring out. That is just the nature of college basketball. We know Eric Musselman scours the Transfer Portal every offseason. There may be another player or two added to the roster. That all depends if any players transfer out or if Mason Jones or Isaiah Joe pursue pro ball. Time will tell. Roughly, 8 months until we will see Arkansas basketball again sadly.
Like many in our state, I didn’t have a choice in who my favorite team would be growing up. I was raised on Razorback. I remember watching the early season games on ARSN or conference games on JP Sports. My first favorite players were Brandon Dean and Joe Johnson. Great memories. I never thought years ago I would be writing about Arkansas Basketball. I don’t have a journalism background or anything like that. When given the opportunity, I wanted to challenge myself with something new and it has been a blast!