Observations after watching the Red White game

Just watched the Red-White game, and have some observations. And a projected line-up.

  1. My biggest take, and shock, was listening to Muss in his press conference bemoan the fact that Lykes doesn’t know the offense well enough. You could hear the irritation in his voice. As someone that played point guard my whole life (all the way through a grad school “choir intramural team” that lost 112-36 to a team full of LSU footballers…but I had 28! ha! One of my best games ever…on the receiving end of a curb stomping…summarizes my athletic career) I was SHOCKED. You don’t know the playbook well enough? Seriously? Study up dude. I don’t care that you came from a different system. Not being GOOD at executing a Muss playbook at first is understandable. Not knowing said playbook? Nope. That is honestly shocking to me. I wasn’t surprised to hear he needs to play better D. Lykes is super talented. And will be a huge asset. But it’s clear to me that he will NOT be this teams “QB” and leader on the floor. He will be an offensive force. Probably average double figures all season. Hit some huge shots. Change games. Much like JD last year.

  2. Devo did an admirable job at the point, and I am sure he will play some there. But the dude that, for the good of the team, needs to stay healthy, blossom, and be that point guard is KK. He is the one. I am not the only one that has said that…and I agree with all others with the same feeling. He is knocking off rust…that’s plain to see. But he’s the one for the point. Devo will thrive more readily if he’s off-ball. KK has everything you want in you PG. Just needs to get that foot 100%

  3. Based on what I saw, my lineup would be:
    PG - KK
    2 - JD
    3-Devo
    4-Umude
    5-Williams

I would bring in Lykes in the instant offense role JD occupied last year. Connor will also play significant minutes. Toney OR Jaxx would be my 8th off the bench. That would be my top 8 as the season starts …or 9 if Jaxx and Toney both warrant significant minutes.

  1. I didn’t see Kamani do much. I trust he has more game than I saw. We are gonna need him or Wade to be able to play significant minutes. Jaylin and Connor can’t be our only bigs.

  2. I know Muss likes a 7-8 man rotation. So I will be curious on who of the 11 I just mentioned don’t see significant minutes. Or…maybe Muss expands the rotation. Who is to say. I suspect Muss will boil it down to 8 or maybe 9 he trusts.

  3. JD looks and played like a man headed for all-SEC. Same for Devo. Same for Jaylin. Those three will be the nucleus. But then there is also Umude. He was VERY impressive. Make that a nucleus of 4! Now it boils down to who is on the floor with those 4 at crunch time.

Overall, I am very happy with this roster. And I trust Muss. I can see us making a run at the SEC championship this year. And a deep run in the NCAA is a real possibility again.

Excited.

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Great read!

Isn’t it wonderful to be excited about Arkansas Basketball again? Truly feel as if your team can go far and be successful?

I think we will see some early growing pains as the team meshes, but as we turn the corner into conference season, we will be going balls to the wall.

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KK is one that I think can make a big difference. I really hope that he lives up to his perceived potential. And I am saying that for a selfish reason because as a fan yes I want the Hogs to have a great season. But I it is deeply for KK as well. It was obvious he was terribly frustrated with the injury last year, so much so that I was afraid he was going to quit. But he stayed with it and that couldn’t have been easy watching his teammates have the success they did without the oncourt contribution from him. So this year I hope is his redemption. It will be difficult having sat out a year but my fingers are crossed!

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Great synopsis following the game. I agree with most everything you wrote.

Devo played all 32 minutes, including 12 minutes at PG. During those 12 minutes, I thought both his offensive and defensive games suffered. IMO, Devo is best defensive guard in the country, as a 2G. He is a very good offensive guard, as a 2G.

I don’t have the data to go back and see if his 12 minutes at PG was when the White team pulled away or not, but I suspect that was the case. Over time, he could probably become an excellent PG, but for this team, I sure hope he plays the 2/3 (he’s excellent at both) this season.

I think more highly of Toney than you do. I believe he will be the 2nd best defender on the team, after Devo. He had a bad floor game in this red-white game, but I’m betting he will tighten up his handle before the season starts. He’s probably the best “athlete” on the team. He’s also a terrific rebounding guard. He won’t be an offensive force, but I think he’ll get starter minutes because of his defense and rebounding.

I expect Umude will be our top scorer this season, with Devo and Notae battling it out for 2nd high scorer. I’m not sure Notae will start, but he’ll get starter minutes. I think Muss will start him some early and see which way he performs the best. He’s a phenomenal 6th man. Will he be just as good when starting? I think Muss will test that.

Devo’s 3 point shot looked much improved in pre-game shoot around. Not so much in game conditions. As he continues to work on it, he may get more comfortable (and consistent) with it in game conditions. He will be our best overall player regardless. Absolutely relentless defender.

As always, things we think we see in our first red-white game, may be wrong in many aspects. Especially in this red-white game, as Muss tried to balance the talent. Once Muss finds his most cohesive line-up as a “TEAM”, we may all be surprised. Think defense first.

I’m really excited about this season!

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A Muss team is a joy to watch, he maximizes the good and minimizes the bad. Appears to have a lot of talent to mold and the fan base is going to explode (I think even Muss will be surprised at the intensity) as we advance down the season road. It’s so great to be back where we rightly belong as the recruiting helps dictate the ascension.

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Hope you are right about Toney. I saw bursts. And I am sure he will indeed get top 8 player minutes. Might even start. I just need to see him more.

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It’s all Greek to me

touche

Starting lineup

Lykes
Devo
Toney
Umude
JWill.

JD off bench but playing 25 min/game and playing crunch time.

Offense will be run through Umude.

KK will get more minutes, if and when his defense pleases Muss. KK will be the leader and starting PG of next year’s (‘22-‘23) team. I don’t think he’s quite ready yet. Hoping he proves me wrong; I’m a big fan of his

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KK won’t start at PG at least to start the season. He’s still recovering and Musselman isn’t going to risk further injury and work him back into game status slowly.

Devo will start the point. He’s not an elite point, but I would put his defense to take on the main ball handler against anybody else in this conference.

Notae will be the SG. He can create his own shot and if he is willing to make that extra pass, he can have a great season.

Toney will start at SF. He can stretch the defense and has the physicality of grab those tough rebounds as needed.

Umunde(sp.) offensive guy who can body up the opposing teams and close down passing lanes inside.

Williams, just got better and is on another level of basketball play on all fronts.

We will have a killer starting lineup and some great substitutions. This could be a special season if our guys gel quickly.

To me, Lykes is the key. His play could be the difference between a good/really good season and a great one. He is the best option for us to have an elite PG this season (I maintain hope that KK will develop into that role eventually).

When I hear Coach Muss “calling out” Lykes in the media, I think that Coach believes this team needs Lykes to be really good, in order to have a special season. (It reminds me of how he “called out” Notae last season about his defense. Coach knew Notae had the offense, and needed him on the floor, so he pushed the button he thought would accomplish that).

No arguments from me on many of the lineups listed above. I think this team can be really good with several different combinations. But, in crunch time, I think Devo and Notae running the point will potentially create a limitation that we won’t have if Lykes is in that role.

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I agree that Muss is trying to push Lykes’ buttons, just as he did with JD last year.

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That also means Lykes is not ready. That is a bummer. My enthusiasm for this season had gone up three fold when Lykes committed to us.

I think Devo and JD will start in the backcourt on Opening Night. And I bet once they start there, they are not giving it up. That could be the most productive and balanced backcourt in the SEC. Both are slashers and can explode offensively, especially if Devo has improved his range as I hear. And defensively, we know what Devo can do and JD was getting better by the game last year.

I see Devo and JD with 30 plus minutes per game. Lykes and KK are going to be battling for those precious backup minutes.

As far as Connor, if he gets a lot of minutes it would mean Muss has abandoned positionless basketball, because Connor definitely has a position.

Of course. If Lykes was “ready”, Coach would talk differently.

Nor was JD ready (defensively)until the latter part of last season.

There’s a reason Coach wanted Lykes here. It’s probably the same reason you were excited about his signing. It’s a bit premature to equate “he isn’t ready” now with he’ll never be ready this season.

If Lykes is coachable, I’d guess he will get ready.

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A couple of comments to consider…

It’s a long season and things change. Last year Vanover and V Jackson contributed plenty during much of the season, even the first part of the conference season. By the end they were not playing as much. The rotation at the end of the season may be quite a bit different than the beginning.

Trey Wade has not even been mentioned because he is injured. He should return in the next couple of weeks. It’s my understanding that he was playing well enough before his injury to be in the top 7 or 8 players.

As talented as this team is 1 through 12, I suspect defensive ability will be key to earning playing time.

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Good points. If Lykes will get after it defensively, he may be able to get major minutes while he’s still learning the office.
I don’t ever remember Vance playing very much (he averaged 11 minutes per game with three starts), but CV did until the shots stopped falling and the opponents started running P&R at him.

I get this perception but I think JD gets sold short on his defense. Per 40 minutes last season, JD got more steals than Devo (led the team), blocked more shots and fouled less. Offensively, he got to the free throw line almost 3 times as much, shot a (slightly) higher FT percentage and was a much better 3 point shooter.

As Muss said, JD is one of the few guys in the country that can get his shot anytime he wants… he’s just got to distinguish between “anytime” and the “right time” (which is probably not so easy when you can do it anytime you want). If Muss can get him a little more focused on facilitating for the other guys (assists), he will be a star, because the same thing that allows him to score anytime he wants would also apply to assists/drive and dish…. anytime he wants.

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There is a lot more to great defense than those categories. Who’s guarding the opponents best offensive player? Who’s giving proper help D? Who’s staying in front of their man when he has the ball?

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Very good post I agree…