LITTLE ROCK — The message conveyed this week by the Arkansas Fantastic Four: Help is on the way, Razorback Nation!
With the 2019-20 season barreling down the tracks toward March Madness, there is postseason uncertainty surrounding Eric Musselman’s first version of the Arkansas basketball program that still has plenty of work to do to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Injuries and the grind of SEC play for a team lacking size and depth have factored into a 2-6 stretch in their last 8 games, but regardless of what happens to close out the current season the Hoop Hogs (16-8 overall, 4-7 SEC) appear certain to add four talented reinforcements for ’20-21 when the spring signing period begins on April 11.
Four high school seniors from Arkansas ranked among the national Top 100 prospects — Davonte “Devo” Davis (letter of intent already signed), Moses Moody (committed), Jaylin Williams (committed), and Khalen “KK” Robinson (committed) — comprise a 2020 class for the Razorbacks that ESPN ranks as the 6th-best recruiting haul in the nation.
It’s a quartet that is solid to Arkansas and all could be moved in and on campus in Fayetteville as soon as the end of May.
“Seeing them (the Hogs) struggle just makes me can’t wait to get there even more,” said Williams (6-10 forward / center, Fort Smith Northside, composite national No. 71 / 4-star prospect). “I know me, Devo, Moses, & KK are all thinking the same thing, that we are going to make a difference come next year. With Zai (Arkansas sophomore Isaiah Joe) being out knowing he’s their second leading scorer I know it’s hard for the team.
“Some guys have to step up more than they’re used too, some guys are getting more playing time than they’re used to. They are still adapting to have Zai out so I think they will get it together soon.”
Williams confirmed he’s solid in his pledge to Arkansas.
“Yes I’m still signing (with the Hogs),” Williams said.
Robinson said he’s all Hog as well.
“I’m still tuned in to every game,” said Robinson (6-1 point guard, Bryant, Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, composite national No. 70 / 4-star prospect). “I’m an Arkansas fan … there’s always ups and downs in life, especially basketball. They’ll be all right. Yes, my commitment is still solid.”
Davis believes the Hogs can right the ship for a March run, and he foresees a bright future beyond that.
“A lot of team these days have their ups and downs, and I think they’ll be a very good team down the stretch,” Davis said. “Coming into March is the key point, so I think down the stretch they should be pretty good. I’m sure Coach Musselman and his staff will get them together, seal the deal, and get the job done.
“Next year going in I think we’ll be pretty good. Adding a lot of pieces to the puzzle of course, being able to compete and accomplish a lot of goals.”
Moody, whose No. 1 and undefeated Montverde Academy squad will next play during the Geico national championship tournament in early April, returned home to Little Rock for a few days this week and will attend the Arkansas-Mississippi State game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville on Saturday.
“They are missing one of the top shooter/scorers in the country,” Moody said of the Hogs playing without Joe for the time being. “They really rose to the occasion and beat TCU. They battled Auburn to the last buzzer but fell short. So the only real struggle I have seen is the Tennessee game.
“They’re going to be good. I still have the same amount of trust in coach (Musselman) and the program as everyone had when they were undefeated.”