2012-2013 Overall Rank: #65
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
Arkansas Team Page
Arkansas had a pretty good season in 2011-2012, Coach Mike Anderson’s first at the helm of the program. The future should only be better. Add the fact that the Razorbacks best player, forward Marshawn Powell is back after playing in just two games last year and there is good reason to be optimistic. Powell averaged 19.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in two contests last season, but succumbed to a knee injury and redshirted. Two years ago he tallied 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and the Razorbacks will have a much better frontcourt with him hanging out in the paint.
2011-12 Record: 18-14, 6-10
2011-12 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Anderson
Coach Record: 18-14 at Arkansas, 218-112 overall
Some early departures have left Arkansas with some inexperience at spots. Devonta Abron, for the most part, stepped into a starting role for Powell during his freshman campaign. Abron was not a great scorer last season, but he was just a freshman. He did have some solid post moves and was a strong rebounder, but he will be taking those skills to TCU. The frontcourt also lost Marvell Waithe and Michael Sanchez to graduation. Waithe was a versatile power forward who could step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper with relative consistency. He was not opposed to hanging out in the post and playing some tough defense either. Sanchez always had the potential to put up some points, but he rarely did. Nonetheless, at 6-8 and 236 pounds, Sanchez was a big body in the paint who started 27 games last season and was always extremely helpful and effective on the glass. Julysses Nobles is the lone loss in the backcourt and his unexpected departure leaves a pretty tough hole to fill on the defensive end. Nobles’ defensive prowess and passing ability earned him plenty of starts throughout his time in Fayetteville.
It takes time and certain type of players to thrive in Coach Anderson’s up-tempo scheme. This is not a great group of freshmen, but they do fit the system. More importantly for the time being, there are plenty of newcomers with experience. Fred Gulley, a transfer from Oklahoma State, is the type of player who should easily fit into Nobles role as a stellar defender and a fine passer. In his two plus years with the Cowboys, Gulley never really got a chance to show off all of his skills. He started 17 games as a freshman, but his sophomore season was cut short by injuries and he left half way through his junior campaign. Coty Clarke is a talented combo forward who spent a couple years at the junior college ranks. Clarke is a superb rebounder and he got off to a quick start at Arkansas during the team’s offseason trip to Italy. He may not start right away, but he should see starters’ minutes. Charlie Henderson and Davion Spivey are walk-ons, but both have experience at the collegiate level. Michael Qualls is probably the one freshman who has the ability to make a big impact right away. Like Clarke, he showed plenty of promise in Italy and the wing should work his way into the regular rotation. Jacorey Williams can fill in at either forward position and has already added quite a bit of weight to his long 6-8 frame. Point guard DeQuavious Wagner and shooting guard Anthlon Bell will join a pretty crowded backcourt and should have the luxury of spending some time learning from the talent in front of them.
Who to Watch:
BJ Young was a very highly regarded point guard coming out of high school and he had a great freshman campaign. He led the team, not counting Powell’s 19.5 points in two games, in scoring with 15.3 points per game and dished out 2.3 assists per game. Last year Young was mostly a scorer off of the bench. This time around he will need to develop into a floor leader and help create scoring chances for the rest of the team. Mardracus Wade and Rickey Scott are the likely starters on the wing. Wade is the shooter on the team, although Young will certainly knock down his share of long balls as well. But Wade connected on an impressive 47.6 percent of his 4.6 attempts from beyond the arc. The 6-2 junior could turn into a dynamic scorer if he attacks the basket a little more often. But he plays solid defense and nobody will complain if he shoots like he did last season. Scott is not a shooter, but he is a good slasher and stronger rebounder and passer. Rashad Madden could see his minutes decrease this season with players like Gulley joining the roster. However, Madden is a versatile guard who can do a lot of things for this team even when he is not scoring.
Hunter Mickelson had a very productive freshman campaign, averaging 5.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He played great defense from day one and should be much more productive on the offensive end now that he is up to about 245 pounds. At 6-10, he is the biggest player on the roster and Coach Anderson will need him to team up with Powell to form a potent duo in the frontcourt. This group has the potential to be extremely deep on the perimeter and that is what the Razorbacks need to run their “40 minutes of hell.” The talent is also there to make a serious run at the NCAA Tournament. Yet, Powell will need to stay healthy and the best is yet to come since there is not a senior on the roster. A trip to the NIT would be a nice stepping stone to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, but a trip to the big dance this year could lead to very high expectations for the 2013-2014 campaign.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
BJ Young, Sophomore, Guard, 15.3 points per game
Mardracus Wade, Junior, Guard, 10.8 points per game
Rickey Scott, Junior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Marshawn Powell, Junior, Forward, 19.5 points per game
Hunter Mickelson, Sophomore, Forward, 5.2 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#21 BJ Young
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#141 JaCorey Williams