Eric Musselman press conference this afternoon

We met with Eric Musselman for nearly a half hour today. Here are a few notes from that:

  • Isaiah Joe and Desi Sills stood out this offseason in terms of strength and conditioning. In the team’s mile run, which Musselman said he has done since his NBA days, those two guys were 1-2 and pushing other players as well. Joe has added some upper-body strength and been the most consistent guy throughout the summer, he added. Desi has committed himself to the weight room, too. Players were polled on who worked the hardest this offseason, and Sills received the most votes. Mason Jones has taken good care of his body also. He’s looking slim and trim.

  • More on Jones: Musselman said he’s still working to become more consistent. There are some practices in which he will shoot the lights out, then there are days when he can’t seem to get anything going, and mentally he has to get over that hurdle. That was the case in his first season at Arkansas. He’d have a great game or two in a row then fall off. Jones, Musselman said, was a player who would almost daily be in the gym working on his shot at 6-6:30 a.m. leading up to practice that afternoon.

  • Jones wasn’t the only guy getting shots up early in the morning. Musselman noted there was a group of 4-5 guys, which he labeled the Breakfast Club, routinely working out early in the day. That group consisted of Joe, Sills, Jalen Harris and Jeantal Cylla.

  • Asked about Harris’ 3-point shooting, since he was mentioned earlier as a member of that morning shooting group, Musselman said he looks good shooting the ball on his own and his confidence in his stroke is growing. Musselman hopes Harris shoots at a higher clip this season. He just needs to see a few go in in a game-like situation and see his work paying dividends.

  • Tuesday was the first official day of practice for the 2019-20 season, and the team buy-in to this point has been great, he said. Players have meshed very well and much of that, considering there are a number of new faces, can be attributed to their various off-the-floor activities. The team took boxing lessons, worked out with the track and field guys and did yoga and a few other things like bonding at Musselman’s house. They had a watch party for Arkansas’ football game at Ole Miss a few weeks ago. Musselman added that he tried to do something in the team-bonding realm at least once per week this summer and into the fall.

  • Musselman joked early in the press conference that the team doesn’t have any true 5 men. He later said that Reggie Chaney has been responding well at that position. He will have to play the 4 and 5 at times this season. I figure the coaches are placing quite a bit on his shoulders in terms of productivity there. Adrio Bailey, he said, has been a very vibrant personality and will make the grind of the next several weeks a lot easier on the guys. In his mind, Bailey is a 3/4, but he will be tasked with playing more 5 than he ever has, which will be a challenge. He lights up the room with his smile and energy, Musselman said. I’m curious to find out what exactly his on-the-floor role will be.

  • There is nothing new in regards to Connor Vanover’s waiver situation.

  • The team is in “phenomenal” shape. Musselman’s mile run forced guards to finish in 5:30, wings in 5:40 and bigs in 5:50. Vanover, because of his frame, was given a pass. Several players, like Joe and Sills, would make their time then re-run the mile with teammates and push them to finish. Dating back to when he was with the Sacramento Kings, Musselman said he never had players do that. He believes, too, that being in great shape will cut down on some minor injuries down the line.

  • Teams have not yet been decided for the Red-White game on Oct. 5 in Barnhill Arena.

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Thanks for the info. Was there no mention of the teams or dates for the 2 exhibition games?

Ah, I’m not sure on that. Should have asked, but did not think about it. I’ll look into it.

Exhibition dates:

Oct. 20 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock (3 p.m.) - Arkansas will unveil Nolan Richardson Court this day
Oct. 25 vs. Southwestern Oklahoma State (7 p.m.)

Have you seen the court?