#34 Arkansas Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #5 SEC
 Arkansas Logo
Year one of the Coach Eric Musselman era went about as expected. Arkansas started off 12-1 and picked up a few quality wins during that stretch, but they had trouble stringing together too many wins in SEC play. The overall result was a 20 win season though and the Razorbacks should be happy with that. Now the team faces higher expectations despite the loss of four starters. The late decision by Isaiah Joe to enter the NBA Draft is painful, but this is still a team that has the talent to reach the NCAA Tournament.
2019-20 Record: 20-12, 7-11
Coach: Eric Musselman
Coach Record: 20-12 at Arkansas, 130-46 overall
Key Departed Players:
Mason Jones, Guard, 22.0 ppg
Isaiah Joe, Guard, 16.9 ppg
Jimmy Whitt Jr, Guard, 14.0 ppg
Adrio Bailey, Forward, 6.3 ppg
Jalen Harris, Guard, 4.2 ppg
Reggie Chaney, Forward, 4.1 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Desi Sills, Junior, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Ethan Henderson, Junior, Forward, 1.6 ppg
Key New Players:
Bryson Morehead, Freshman, Forward
Connor Vanover, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Cal
Davonte Davis, Freshman, Guard
Jalen Tate, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Northern Kentucky
Jaylin Williams, Freshman, Forward
JD Notae, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Jacksonville
Justin Smith, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Indiana
Khalen Robinson, Freshman, Guard
Moses Moody, Freshman, Guard
Vance Jackson Jr, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from New Mexico
Abayomi Iyiola, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Stetson
Desi Sills is the lone returning starter and Arkansas will reload around his 10.6 points per game. Most of their reloading will come from six Division I transfers. Justin Smith may be the biggest name of the bunch. The graduate transfer from Indiana averaged 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds with the Hoosiers last season. Another grad transfer, Vance Jackson, will likely join Smith in the starting lineup. He is a versatile 6-9 forward who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting ability. Jalen Tate was a superstar at Northern Kentucky and averaged 13.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals last year. Those numbers may not be quite as gaudy in the SEC, but he can handle the point and will always play stellar defense. JD Notae is another mid-major star who can run the point. He sat out with the Razorbacks last year after spending two seasons at Jacksonville where he led the team with 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 2018-2019. Abayomi Iyiola and Conor Vanover will provide more frontcourt depth. Both should at least be solid rebounders and defenders at this level. Coach Musselman also brings in a solid recruiting class and many of them should be ready to play a role off the bench right away. Arkansas has a lot of interesting pieces, but many of them are unproven at a level like the SEC. Can players like Tate and Notae seamlessly step into the SEC? Can the freshmen add the depth this team needs? If questions like that fall in Arkansas’ favor more often than not, by March this will be a very, very dangerous team.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.8 (56th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.6 (185, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (147, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (169, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.6 (143, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.4 (175, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.1 (102, 6)
Rebound Margin: -6.8 (342, 14)
Assists Per Game: 11.9 (266, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (47, 1)
Madness 2021 NBA Draft Rankings:
#34 Moses Moody
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#47 Moses Moody
#65 K.K. Robinson
#75 Jaylin Williams
#106 Davonte Davis