#30 Arkansas Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #30
Conference Rank: #3 SEC

Arkansas Team Page#30 Arkansas Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Arkansas Basketball Tickets

The streak for Arkansas should end here. The Razorbacks have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2008 and that is painful for a proud program like Arkansas. Coach Mike Anderson has been recruiting well and the team should be able to build off of their NIT appearance a year ago. The Razorbacks went 10-8 in SEC play, which is not all that great in what was a pretty poor conference, but they did win a game in the NIT. The team will be led by senior guard Rashad Madden. He averaged a team high 12.7 points and 2.8 assists last season and also knocked down 40.0 percent of his attempts from long range.

2013-14 Record: 22-12, 10-8
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Mike Anderson
Coach Record: 59-39 at Arkansas, 259-137 overall

Who’s Out:
The big loss is Coty Clarke. The 6-7 forward was fourth on the team in scoring, second in rebounding, second in assists and first in steals. He was not as efficient scoring in the paint as years past, but he was always productive. Fred Gulley never put up big numbers, but he was a starter during his senior season and helped control the fast-paced offense. Mardracus Wade was relegated to the bench for much of his senior year, but he could knock down some shots. Kikko Haydar, who averaged just over a dozen minutes per game, and Rickey Scott are the other departures.

Who’s In:
With a team that gets up and down the floor as quickly as Arkansas, depth is needed. The freshmen should be able to provide at least depth. The key players though are Anton Beard and Jabril Durham. This team lacks a true point guard and floor leader and those are the two options Coach Anderson has for now. Picking up Beard was a nice get for the Razorbacks since most of the top recruits from the state of Arkansas have been going elsewhere recently. How much he can contribute right away remains to be seen though. Durham spent last season at Seminole State College and averaged 21.2 points, 6.7 assists and 2.5 steals. He spent his freshman season at Lubbock Christian, an NAIA school, and those two years of extra experience are huge. Nick Babb is a lanky shooting guard and power forward Keaton Miles will add some depth up front. Keaton Miles spent two years at West Virginia. The 6-7 forward rarely put up big numbers, but he can do the dirty work.

Who to Watch:
Ideally, one of the newcomers would handle the starting point guard job so Madden can slide over to the shooting guard spot. If Madden has to spend more time with the ball in his hands, expect Anthlon Bell to see more starts. Bell, a 6-3 junior, will take most of his shots from beyond the arc and he can be extremely dangerous when those shots are falling. Michael Qualls is another good shooter, but he can score by attacking the basket too. The 6-6 junior had a breakout season and averaged 11.6 points per game. With continued improvement like that, Qualls can be an All-SEC caliber player. Speaking of All-SEC caliber, forward Bobby Portis is already at that point. The conference named him a second-team All-SEC honoree after he averaged 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks as a freshman. Barring a sophomore slump, and with a little better shot selection, Portis will be a household name outside of SEC country by March.

Final Projection:
The rest of the frontcourt is pretty impressive too. Alandise Harris is an athletic and experienced forward who does a good job of keeping up with the guards. He managed to score 9.0 points per game despite averaging just 18.8 minutes. Jacorey Williams can eat up some minutes, but the potential is higher for Moses Kingsley. The 6-10, 230 pound sophomore is the one player who can be a force in the paint. While the system calls for athletic forwards who can run, that does not mean there is not room for a large presence in the paint. Kingsley swatted away 49 shots in just 11.5 minutes per game last season. The frontcourt has a lot of great options and the same is true for the backcourt if one of the point guards is ready for 20 to 25 minutes per game. Options and scorers, not to mention defenders, are what make this system work and it appears like Coach Anderson finally has both at Arkansas.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Rashad Madden, Senior, Guard, 12.7 points per game
Anthlon Bell, Junior, Guard, 7.2 points per game
Michael Qualls, Junior, Guard, 11.6 points per game
Alandise Harris, Senior, Forward, 9.0 points per game
Bobby Portis, Sophomore, Forward, 12.3 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.1 (16th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.3 (213, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.1 (181, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (47, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (61, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (86, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.6 (74, 2)
Rebound Margin: -3.5 (301, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (28, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (101, 5)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#31 Bobby Portis

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#113 Anton Beard


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