These two guys have made driving from Little Rock to BWA worth it over the last two years. I cannot recall any other two juco guards putting their mark on the Razorback basketball in just two years like these two.
We all were concerned that Mike missed out on Monk and Allen and had to settle for two juco guards. They were juco all Americans but some told us that is just high three star players. And that is probably right generally. But these two guys exceeded our expectations. They carried a team of low guard depth, a weak front court, a fast developing big, on their shoulders to the NCAAT. And earned all SEC honors.
These two guys developed offensively significantly. Macon came over as a spot shooter, but developed an all round game including a midrange game and taking the defender off the dribble and an above average handle. His free throw shooting alone won us a lot of close games away from BWA.
Barford came over as a rugged guard who scored mostly by driving the lane and midrange shots. He developed into one of SEC’s best deep shooter and specialized in step back 3s and turnaround jump shots.
As Jimmy Dykes said, these two were the best in the nation in scoring as the clock ran out. A skill that became important because of lack of a true PG on the roster.
Well done guys! I will miss you. You were thrill a minute, no doubt!
A really dynamic duo on offense who certainly exceeded expectations for production. Both guys will be getting paid somewhere next year, and might find their way to the NBA with time, work, and a little luck. If Patrick Beverly can get there, so can those two.
But they never got past what JC did not teach them about playing defense. That is understandable when you play JC for two years where everyone knows you have to score/get steals/blocks to get noticed, and then go to a power conference school where you have to really try to learn to play base man defense and understand team defense. I think both guys have the potential to be really good defenders in the pro game. They just need work, game minutes and coaching over the course of another couple of years.
So we built an entertaining team around two occasionally brilliant scorers, and lived with the fact those guys just were not that good on defense. It was fun to watch a lot of the time. It wasn’t a recipe for championship basketball, but it certainly was good enough for winning basketball in a suddenly tough conference.
Spot on comment on their defense. I also have noticed that the players who are great scores are not great defenders. They spent so much energy creating their own shots, they seem to not necessarily take plays off, but sort of relax more. Spot shooters generally play good defense, but scorers don’t.
Your point on jucos is well taken. There are always exceptions like Darrell Walker.
Darrell still had tons of Chicago in him when he walked on campus. He always seemed to get into it with Aggies, Longhorns, Bears, or any one else in another jersey. Different era, but Darrell played hard-nosed by nature. So the thing with Darrell was not getting the JC out of him on defense, it was getting him to channel that personality into his game in a constructive way.
Yea, I’m really going to miss them as well. To me they were our best guard duo since Kareem Reid/Pat Bradley. The only thing that I hate about them going out so early in the tournament is after a few years people are going to forget how dynamic they were. Usually it takes at least a sweet 16 appearance or make it to the NBA to really get that Razorback legendary status.
I already miss them. They had “better” options and chose to come here and help rebuild. They provided lots of wins and memories. I just hate it that they fizzled out. They easily could have had a hot weekend and made the S16 and put a real stamp on things.
I know they wanted it badly. In fact, I kinda think that’s part of the reason they struggled. They wanted it so badly they seemed right.
As a coach once told me about high school coaching, the bad part is they leave, the good part is another group of great kids will follow. I always try to remember that when Hog players move on. Great memories and new ones to come. Definitely will miss those 2, along with Trey.
What have we always had with Eddie, Nolan and Mike. You always knew then would make a run. Down 19 in the first half and take the lead. It’s a shame we ran out of gas.
Barford and Macon what a joy to watch. AND we know they are just sick that it’s OVER. Actually a shame. 2 years and at the point to see Victory and just have the jaws of defeat to bite it right out of their hand.
Good luck you 2 and I will never forget. Unbelievable what those 2 did at times the past 2 years! THANK-YOU from myself and the great Hawg Nation. May your future be bright!