UA camp notebook: Freshman guard Davonte Davis impresses in week 6, more

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LITTLE ROCK — There is no shortage of newcomers on the Arkansas Razorbacks 2020-21 basketball roster, and as week 6 of the Hogs’ preseason training camp wrapped up on Friday yet another freshman earned some praise for his play.

Jacksonville native Davonte “Devo” Davis had a “really good” week of practice, according to a source, and in fact observers have expressed for at least three weeks that Davis has been improving in terms of performance and vocal leadership.

Davis is a long 6-foot-4 guard who offers arguably the best combination of court awareness, vision, and feel as a facilitator to come out of the Arkansas high school ranks in years. He frequently registered triple-doubles as a senior in 2019-20 while leading Jacksonville to a 5A state co-championship. And during the pandemic shutdown of sports going back to mid-March, Davis seemingly lived in the gym in central Arkansas working out as he packed on muscle and bulk as a lead-up to moving to Fayetteville in late June to begin his career as a Razorback.

Davis is one of four native Arkansans — all ranked among the national high school Top 100 prospects — who make up the Hogs’ 2020 freshmen class that ESPN ranked as the 5th-best in college basketball. The quartet of Davis, Moses MoodyKhalen “KK” Robinson, and Jaylin Williams has collectively and individually drawn praise through Arkansas’ first six weeks of training camp.

Of Arkansas’ 12 scholarship players, 10 will compete as Hogs for the first time this season (highlight mash-up reel from week 6 of training camp is linked here … 

* Senior grad-transfer Justin Smith (6-7 combo forward, 230) had his best season as a junior at Indiana in ’19-20 as he registered career-high averages in scoring (10.4 points), rebounding (5.2 rebounds), and minutes played (30.4 minutes), and based on feedback so far he has shown consistent ability to make plays at both ends of the floor as he appears to be headed for a huge role in ’20-21. An exceptional athlete with a recorded 48-inch vertical leap, Smith reportedly has been good in both halfcourt and transition scenarios since practice began. And that was the expectation for an incoming veteran who had a significant presence playing for the Hoosiers in the Big 10 for three seasons, but seeing it translate at the performance center in Fayetteville now for six weeks has one observer suggesting Smith could be in line to have another career-best season in terms of production and impact (highlight reel linked here…

* Senior grad-transfer and new walk-on Brandon Kimble was formally added to Arkansas’ roster earlier in the week. The Mississippi Valley State transfer — he led the team in rebounding (5.9 per game) as a junior in ’19-20 — is listed as a 6-7, 180-pound forward, and he’ll wear No. 14 on his jersey in his final season as a collegian at Arkansas. Kimble became the Hogs’ third walk-on for ’20-21, joining senior forward Emeka Obukwelu and freshman combo forward Bryson Moorehead.

Injury updates. Junior guard JD Notae (left wrist) continues to practice on a limited basis, according to a source, and has yet to take part in “live” contact portions of practice. The source also said junior guard Desi Sills missed some practice time this week due to a “nagging” injury to a foot that is not considered to be a serious injury.

* Freshman guard Moses Moody continues to deliver at the rim in practice, and the latest highlight provides more evidence that Moody’s game is a three-level threat that has him poised to be one of the best rookies not only in the SEC but in the all of college basketball (highlight reel linked here … 

Virtual coaching. Arkansas revealed during the week that its coaching staff is using virtual analysis, or “simulated basketball situation study,” to break down “specific game situations” while “talking through defensive and offensive options.” This appears to be a useful tool to work in concert with on-court instruction and analysis as well as actual film study (highlight reel linked here … 

Muss’ social media dominance engulfs Cal and other coaches! According to a graphic put out by SkullSparks.com on Wednesday, Musselman’s Twitter account activity in July generated the most interactions (32,000) when comapred to all NCAA head coaches, with Kentucky’s John Calipari next at 23,000.

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