GREENVILLE, SC. - Anton Beard has been here before. The junior guard from North Little Rock is making his second appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the Hogs.
In fact, Beard started for the Hogs the last time they were in the tournament, in 2015. Beard started the last 15 games of his freshman season, a season in which he was named to the All-SEC Freshman team. But in Beard's sophomore year, he struggled.
This season, he's turned it around, averaging seven points off the bench and ranks third on the team with 65 assists. In the SEC Tournament final against Kentucky, Beard struggled scoring only one point.
"A lot of people noticed I haven't been playing to my potential," says Beard. "And I don't know what it is, I just have to find my groove back. Its something that all players go through and it's one of those things where, you know, I just haven't been here, so hopefully this can be the turning point of the season."
"He's a common force and he's played some of his best basketball this year, defensively, offensively," claims head basketball coach Mike Anderson. "He is going to be key, and we have to learn on him. And we have leaned on him and his experience throughout this season."