Home Grown Talent

Over the past decade, Arkansas has been blessed with some extra ordinary basketball talent. From Portis, Monk, and Gafford to todays talent of Moore, Moody, Williams, and Robinson. In ordinary circumstances, this would be a blessing. Arkansas could get the bulk of it’s talent from home and supplement them with talent out of State. A recipe for a successful program. But many of the States top basketball talent have left for other programs. Kentucky and Florida come to mind. There are a number of reasons for this. Business, wanting to get away from home, and not getting along with Arkansas coaches to name a few. But from what I understand, most of the top talent in the State will not be coming to Arkansas. Moore, Moody, and Williams look like they will be playing elsewhere. Robinson is still a possibility. I have just a few questions. How can Arkansas have a competitive program in the SEC if the bulk of it’s top players go elsewhere? Why to these players feel the need to leave? Is there a perception problem with our basketball program? And how can these problems be addressed and corrected? With today’s current talent of Moore, Moody, and Williams probably going to other schools is both a message and a warning. Can our current Coach come up with solutions to this? I don’t know. But if he doesn’t, our prospects of being a successful program that makes the NCAA tournament on a consistent will soon be a thing of the past, and our basketball program could very well fall as far as our football program.

Ooops. Sorry about the grown thing. My bad.

Are you sure that Williams isn’t coming?

That’s the thinking of some recruiting guys. Hawgs 247 have him going to OK. State.

I’m one of the guys who doubts we get Williams, but 247’s crystal ball has one prediction and it’s from an Okie Light guy. I wouldn’t depend too much on it until more predictions are made.

Edit: The guy that made the prediction has a 40% success rate. The other part of the Williams story is being generated at Hogville saying Williams was never interested in AR because of CMA. Most people around AR basketball thought he was the only legit chance we had when Mike was here (and Dudley said this on here after the coaching change). So, I’m trusting Dudley over Hogville and Okie Light reporters.

Edit 2: As for the other three, Robinson blew up fairly recently (this spring and summer), so several schools are on him late (we offered the same day Kansas did). Moody wasn’t ever coming here. He’s got blue blood fever. Moore, I am actually shocked he hasn’t already committed to UNC (supposedly they offered). He’s said in an interview it was his dream school, however, there is a lot going on at Memphis, and seems like there are a lot of factors now trying to point him in that direction.

It is too early to conclude that Moore, Moody and Williams will not be doing. Let’s wait on that.

I disagree that a lot of talent has left the state. In fact I think Arkansas had cleaned up on instate talent in the past decade. And we are talking 4s and 5s only for this discussion

The players who have left - Goodwin, Monk, Allen, Curry and McBride

Goodwin and Monk have left for Kentucky, a blue blood.
Allen because of supposed feud between Kahn Cotton and Nolan.
Curry was really not from Arkansas and was always iffy.
McBride was a late bloomer and a late 4* that no P5 school was recruiting until very late. And once Kansas offered, it was over.

Conclusion - the real threat is if a blue blood recruits a 5* in-state player. It will take Arkansas to get back to glory days to never lose a player to a business decision

The players who signed with Arkansas - Madden, Mickleson, Portis, Beard, Macon, Gafford, Hall, Garland, Joe, Henderson

But Mickleson and Hall left and Garland can’t play for medical reasons. I’m not just talking about past and current talent, but future ones as well. Where in the past, home grown kids were enthusiastic about Arkansas, today’s are either lukewarm or uninterested about playing for Arkansas. I’m asking is there something amiss about the basketball program. Yes, I know winning would cure a lot of the perceptions, but you need the players and the right system to turn things around. And it doesn’t help we are recruiting against some unsavory characters in the SEC. Not looking to start up the cheating debate. Just stating the obvious.

What really bothers me about this topic is we used to be a blue blood ourselves. Coach Richardson got Darnell Robinson out of Oakland and Kareem Reid out of the Bronx. They were both McDonald’s All Americans. Coast to coast recruiting was the norm. We never lost a player we really wanted from Arkansas. So now we can’t protect our own borders? Maybe we were as good as we will ever be in 1994? Sad if true. What I do know is that the 2020 class is the most talented crop of players this state has probably ever produced. If we don’t sign a single one of them, did we hire the right guy?

I don’t think we can answer “the right guy” question off this recruiting class. Let’s be honest, Muss is behind all the others recruiting these same guys (with maybe the exception of Robinson who blew up late). Now, if he strikes out completely in 2021 and ends up with just transfers or JUCO’s, then I think you can start questioning his recruiting abilities.

By the way, I’m no longer worried about Okie Light and Jaylin Williams. Like our chances again (as of now).

We got Robinson and Reid at the absolute, almost certainly unsustainable, peak of the program. We could tell Robinson with honesty and accuracy that he could be the missing piece to a NC team. We aren’t going to get those players winning at the recent level. We probably can’t get to that level in this recruiting environment without either outbidding other programs or getting lucky. Luck would probably involve landing a generational talent from Arkansas that has always dreamed of playing at Arkansas and then having every other piece fall into place. I’m a big CNR fan, but it was not all his genius that some 3-stars fit so perfectly around Corliss. Of course, you need a superior coach to take advantage of some good fortune. We probably wasted some generational in-state talent when Nutt was here. In a weaker SEC we should have gotten more out of McFadden, Matt Jones, Felix Jones, etc.

I agree that having a stranglehold on in state recruiting enabled BOTH Sutton and Richardson to get to Final Fours. There is no doubt that Sidney. And Corliss were the leaders of their teams. However, the 1990 Final 4 team was led by players from other states. Day was from Memphis, Mayberry from Tulsa, and Miller from Texas. I always like it when Arkansas kids play for the Hogs. I don’t know if adding these players would be the key to make Arkansas a top tier basketball team. I do know that we are recruiting more 4and 5 star kids than we ever have. Let Coach Muss do his job. His performance will be clear soon enough.

I know everyone has their own ideas about how successful we need to be. My expectations are to make the NCAA tournament every year. I expect to make the Sweet 16 at least 3 times a decade.and of those teams,I expect at least 1 Elite 8. I expect to make 1 more Final 4 in the next 15 years.

Let’s see what happens before we get in a hissy. I would greatly prefer to win. If we do it with Arkansas kids, that’s lagniappe. Can’t wait to see where we are in 2-3 years.

The build-the-wall people forget, or never knew, or ignore that Nolan built the monster with Memphis and Tulsa kids, largely. How many prominent Arkansas kids played on the NC team? One. Two if you count Rimac although he was an exchange student. Engskov and Merritt were walk-ons, Biley played largely in garbage time. You get enough Becks and McDaniels and Dillards and Robinsons from out of state, it doesn’t matter if we lose a KeVaughn or a Brand, certainly not Business Decision, who wasn’t even very good at Kentucky.

Arkansas high school hoops is becoming good enough that we can’t possibly sign every kid who plays at a high-DI level, anyway. There are too many of them. Get the ones you can and fill in around them.

We may not sign every kid, but not lose the bulk of them. Recruits will start to wonder why so many Arkansas kids won’t stay and play for the State school. Recruiters and Coaches will of course jump in and tell recruits that’s something stinks at Arkansas. And why is it we can’t seem to get not just the top players in the Memphis or Tulsa areas, but any players it seems. It’s not because the talent levels dried up. I know Cal and know Penny had the Memphis kids stay home. But Tulsa? And please don’t tell me it was the travel. And why have we never tried to recruit the Kansas City, Saint Louis, or Wichita areas? Kansas or Kansas State can’t sign them all. Hopefully Muss will get our recruiting situation sorted out.

Yeah, but getting Memphis and Tulsa kids to Fayetteville is a lot easier than getting 5-stars out of California and New York. They may not be strictly in-state, but they were basically a bridge away.

Recently we did get Embery-Simpson out of Tulsa, BJ Young and Jimmy Whitt out of St. Louis. Simpson was the Oklahoma POY in his junior year. They even tried to recruit Bradley Beal from St. Louis area. Have there been any 4* star players out Kansas City or Wichita lately? Memory is failing me on that.

Williams was heartbroken for Coach A when Coach A was fired.

He loved the former staff, in part because they were the first ones to truly believe in him, which often goes a long way with a kid unless a Blue Blood comes into the picture.

As you guys know, I don’t do odds, but I feel good about him ending up here. I do think he has two leaders in Arkansas and Oklahoma State, but I wouldn’t rule anybody or anything out in recruiting.

It is so important as a recruiting writer not to just talk to the kid, but talk to the whole group around him when forming an opinion and attaching your name to it.

I don’t do that lightly.

As for the four kids in Arkansas in the 2020 class that the Razorbacks have offered, I don’t think they are out on any of them.

I certainly would not say they lead on all four - that would be a stupid comment to make - but I do feel better about two of them (Robinson. Williams) than I do the other two (Moody, Moore).

As my partner likes to say, the situations remain fluid.

And honestly, I feel better about Arkansas’ overall chances with the four with Coach Musselman than I did Coach Anderson.

The biggest reasons are two - the NBA angle and the uncertain job status Coach Anderson was in.

I have to disagree.

In my almost 40 years of following and reporting on recruiting, I have never had one out of state kid in any of three major sports bring up Arkansas kids not going to Arkansas.

Could be because those kids are considering not staying in their own state and many end up not doing so.

It’s not like it was back when I was a kid and most kids would have given anything to play for their home state school and it hasn’t been like that for a long time - and not just at Arkansas.

what has been done in the past really has nothing to do with Coach Morris and Coach Musselman.

New sheriffs in town doing their own thing.

In fact, Musselman seems to be hitting Oklahoma really hard as is Morris, who also is going after more Memphis kids.