LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Razorbacks won’t have an exhibition season (typically two games) due to the pandemic, but they will get at least one dress-rehearsal in a game-like setting when they play their annual Red-White instrasquad scrimmage (a.k.a. “BWA Live”) on Thursday on Nolan Richardson Court at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Students will be the only fans allowed inside BWA (maximum attendance this season is limited to 4,000 fans per game) with the scrimmage being live-streamed by the SEC Network. Game time is set for 7 p.m. CT. There will be a dunk contest in addition to the intrasquad scrimmage. Arkansas returns to BWA for its Red-White game after playing it last season in venerable Barnhill Arena, which had been retired from hosting basketball events spanning the previous 26 years.
Typically, the Red-White game in concert with a couple of exhibition games provides ample evaluation opportunities for Hog coaches trying to shape their player rotations and personnel packages. But given that Thursday’s intrasquad scrimmage is effectively a glorified practice it may not be as useful to the coaching staff sans the exhibition games, especially considering that 10 of the 12 scholarship players will be competing for the first time ever as Razorbacks when the season tips off in two weeks against Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 25 at BWA).
The Hogs held a live scrimmage on Friday with SEC officials as junior-transfer guard JD Notae led all scorers with 20 points while freshman guard Moses Moody was next with 18 points (including 5-of-6 shooting from 3). Senior combo forward Vance Jackson, Jr., scored the ball well, too.
Freshman big man Jaylin Williams (6-10, 245, forward / center) may be the surprise of preseason practices, he’s projected to crack the Hogs’ top 7-8 rotation out of the gates, and he very well could be in line for a starting role in the season-opener.
Williams said Arkansas’ highly regarded four-player freshman class will be ready.
“I feel like all of us have adapted really well,” Williams said during a Zoom interview with media on Wednesday. “Moses is shooting is really good. Devo’s playing really good, playing hard, getting rebounds, taking it to the basket. KK is handling the rock, dishing out dimes. I feel like we’re adjusting pretty good with this team. We’ve got a bunch of great leaders that are helping us develop into the players we all want to be, so I feel like we’re developing pretty good.”
Jackson tweeted a Red-White-game teaser to fans on Wednesday: “Tomorrow get a little glimpse of the squad on the SEC network channel. Let’s get it, it’s almost here!!”
Rosters for the 2020-21 Red-White game had not been announced at the time this article was published (less than 10 hours prior to opening tip). Below is the list of the 11 scholarship players who should be available to play (rosters will be shuffled at halftime) …
* KK Robinson (6-0 point guard, freshman)
* Jalen Tate (6-6 combo guard, senior)
* Desi Sills (6-1 combo guard, junior)
* JD Notae (6-1 combo guard, junior)
* Vance Jackson, Jr. (6-9 combo forward, senior)
* Justin Smith (6-7 combo forward, senior)
* Jaylin Williams (6-10 forward / center, freshman
* Moses Moody (6-6 shooting guard wing, freshman)
* Davonte “Devo” Davis (6-4 combo guard, freshman)
* Ethan Henderson (6-8 forward, junior)
* Connor Vanover (7-3 stretch-5, sophomore)