A unique team for Mike?

Thus far in the season, it looks like Mike has the best starting 5 he’s had at Arkansas. With the emergence of Adrio, there aren’t any multiple weaknesses in any one of the 5. The obvious star (despite Joe’s shooting) is our All American center, Gafford. Joe has a chance to set all time 3-point shooting records for the Hogs, and has shown flashes of being a very good defender. Jones is the glue guy who is 2nd in nearly every statistical category on the team, 3-point shooting, rebounding, assists, and steals. These last 3-4 games, Harris has become exactly what this team needs, an honest-to-god true PG. Very quietly, he has also become our top free throw shooter (.815), which is so important for a PG in crunch time. Adrio has improved as much as any player I’ve seen during Mike’s tenure. He’s quietly assumed the role of the team leader.

After saying all that, unfortunately, at this point in the season, it looks like he has his weakest bench since his first year here. The bench is very young, so hopefully, 2 or 3 can emerge as stand-out bench players. For the team to take that next step to a top 15-20 team, the bench has to provide more help. If that doesn’t happen, Mike may have to pull back on his “fastest 40 minutes” to get the full value of this outstanding starting five.

This could be a bit premature, as we’ve only played 6 games and we’ve seen Mike’s teams look like world beaters in pre-SEC games, then crash and burn early in the SEC season. So far, the one stand-out weakness of this group, is what we had the last 2 years, just 2 really good 3-point shooters. Fortunately, those 2 (Joe and Jones)are great shooters, averaging .462 and .452 respectively, on 3’s. I’m more excited about this team than I have any of the teams since Mikes been here.

Good post. I’d add that it appears MA is really trying to overlap with the bench players. I think he’d prefer to go 5 and 5, but he’s playing Mason with the bench quite a bit. He did this last year with Macon.

Mike will have to keep rotating starters with the first team until that second unit starts being able to score more effectively. right now they play really good defense and have done well scoring off the D, but they will need a scorer down the stretch on that unit. Hopefully Desi and Keyshwan start hitting some spot jumpers and Chaney and Phillips just keep coming.

I really like this team for the stretch run. I have always said i like that Mike’s teams seem to play better at the end versus the beginning g of the year. If that happens again this year this team is going to be a really tough out for anyone on any given night.

Comments: ditto! This group Mike and staff has assembled is special, when the dusts settles before and after conference play you will be surprised how many scorers play makers on this team. All are anxious to play lock down defense, just watch