LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Razorbacks completed their second full week of limited practices, and the offense was a focal point of the instruction and drill work inside the basketball performance center last week.
With the start of the 2021-22 season approximately 5 months away, head coach Eric Musselman and his staff have only 4 on-court hours a week to work with the team — the maximum for the initial 8 weeks of limited practice — but as always they make the most of that time.
Here are some tidbits and takeaways …
* Arkansas used last week to go over some of the finer points of the offense that Musselman envisions for his third Razorbacks team. Whether halfcourt sets or transition offense, establishing and maintaining proper offensive spacing is critical and Musselman had the team mostly focused on that aspect of the scoring side of the ball. Known for advocating a pace-and-space system with a free-flowing halfcourt offense, Musselman has made overall roster upgrades in terms of adding quickness and burst, and coupled with having only two players taller than 6-7 there will be plenty of small-ball, 5-out-offense personnel options for Musselman to employ. Good spacing on offense promotes good ball movement and driving lanes, and it’s vital in executing pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop action as well as off-ball movement including setting screens, running to soft spots in the defense, and using back-cuts to get open.
* Arkansas covid-freshman Khalen “KK” Robinson (6-0 guard, Bryant) is practicing, but it remains on a limited basis as he is not involved in live, full-contact competition when the Hogs go through controlled scrimmaging. Robinson is still working his way back from a foot injury that required surgery and ended his true freshman season as a Hog in early January of this year.
* The most-recent Arkansas signee and the Hogs’ fifth transfer in the 2021 recruiting class, senior Trey Wade (6-6, 220, combo forward, Wichita State transfer) told Hogville.net on Wednesday that he plans on “arriving in Fayetteville on Saturday (June 19).” Smith announced his pledge to Arkansas on Tuesday, June 8, and you can read all about his journey to becoming a Razorback here:https://forums.hogville.net/index.php?topic=730477.0
* Razorbacks senior combo forward Stanley Umude, who arrived on campus in late May after transferring from South Dakota, took part in the Celtics pre-NBA-Draft workout on Wednesday along with several other draft prospects. Umude (6-6 combo forward) entered the draft pool before picking the Hogs to finish out his college playing career, but until he formally withdraws from the draft — the NCAA deadline to do so is July 7 — he can take part in NBA-sanctioned draft workouts. Umude — he averaged 21.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists last season at South Dakota — has drawn praise for the physicality and versatility that he has put on display during the first couple of weeks of limited practice. Last season, senior-grad Justin Smith remained in the NBA Draft pool for a period of time after transferring from Indiana to Arkansas, and obviously he withdrew from the draft and went on to become an integral part of the Hogs’ run to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight.
* Hogs covid-freshman Jaylin Williams (6-10 forward / center, Fort Smith) is set to take part in Team USA U19 training camp that begins tomorrow (Thursday, June 17) in Fort Worth, Texas, as he is among 27 players vying for a spot on the 2021 U19 FIBA World Cup Team. The training camp will run through June 28, and the U19 FIBA World Cup Championship will take place July 3-11, in Riga, Latvia. There will be five practices from June 20-22. The finalists for the 12-man team will be selected on June 23.
* It’s never to early for way-too-early ’21-22 preseason rankings and postseason NCAAT projections, and this week Arkansas was complimented by a couple of national college basketball analysts. Jeff Goodman of Stadium released his updated way-too-early Top 25 on Tuesday and had the Hogs ranked No. 11. “The Muss Bus will keep rolling … Eric Musselman and his staff still have (JD) Notae and a couple of talented young guys in (Devo) Davis and (Jaylin) Williams, and they have already added a few impact transfers.” Additionally, noted ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi on Tuesday slotted the Hogs as a 4-seed in his way-too-early NCAAT 68-team projections.
* As first reported by Hogville.net on June 8, former Arkansas star and the program’s first ever one-and-done Moses Moody (6-6 guard, Little Rock) has been invited and plans to take part in the 2021 NBA Draft Combine, which is scheduled for June 21-27 in Chicago. An All SEC first team selection and the league’s Freshman of the Year in ’20-21, Moody is projected to be a first round draft pick. Including Moody, Mason Jones, Isaiah Joe, Daniel Gafford, and Jaylen Barford, the Hogs have had five former players invited to the combine spanning the last four years.