Practice Report

It was a quick look at an hour-and-fifty-minute practice, but enough to make me comfortable in saying that Arkansas basketball is about to become a lot of fun once again. I saw athleticism, quickness, leaping ability, A willingness to get after it on defense and skills distributed among all members of a deep squad.
It’s probably very stupid of me to try this at this very beginning of work by the team, but I know you want some impressions, so that’s what I’ll give you.

Adrio Bailey… superior athlete. Think Qualls. While he’ll probably play mostly 3 don’t be surprised if he leads the team in rebounds per minute played. He also could become a solid defender.

Jaylen Barford… knocked down two 3-pointers, a euro-step layin and several assists in this short scrimmage. While not especially quick he is really put together and his good basketball instincts tell where the ball needs to go and how to get it there.

Anton Beard… looks to sink his teeth into any unsuspecting ball handlers and, not finding any, he sank his teeth into one or two ballhandlers anyway. Just kidding, of course, but he was active!

Arlando Cook… surprisingly good (to me) at posting up. In spite of his slender frame he appears good at establishing his position and maintaining it in the post and uses his quickness to blow by bigger defenders. Opponents will learn to give him room so he’ll need to learn to work on his baseline jumper, which isn’t pure but seems to go in at an acceptable rate.

R.J. Glasper… Look out, point guards. This kid is looking for playing time and may well earn it. Quick and slippery on offense and strong on defense he could earn time in press situations.

Dusty Hannahs… made a Curry-like quick-release corner jumper coming off a screen to end the scrimmage. It was a fitting end. His work during drills suggests that he has not neglected the off-duty shooting time that the new practice facility provides.

Brachen Hazen… beautiful stroke on both long and short-range jumpers. Reminiscent of Scotty Thurman he isn’t especially quick but seems to find or make room for his deadly jumper.

C.J.Jones… Don’t overlook this kid. Not only can he put points on the board but his excellent defensive footwork reminds me of Clint McDaniel. He excelled in the full-court one-on-one drill, with Coach A on the sideline demanding still more pressure. C.J. responded.

Moses Kingsley… looks ready to take up where he left off last season with strong rebounding and good post defense. Also showed some welcome leadership as well.

Daryl Macon… one of the quickest players. Was especially strong in the drills preceding scrimmage, especially on defense.

Dustin Thomas… could play a Coty Clarke-like role for this team. Has a nice stroke and the body to contend for the tough rebounds. Seems to be just behind Kingsley and Thompson in height.

Trey Thompson… looks ready to contend for “most improved.” If yesterday was typical he has really improved his mid-range jumper, hit the boards harder than I remember and continues to find the cutter when he has the ball on the post or from the short corner.

Manny Watkins… is setting a high bar for effort and hustle for the newcomers to emulate. He’ll also likely lead the press team.

180 degrees from last year’s situation, depth should be one of the strengths of this team… 13 players who all can play, with several able to play two or even three positions.

Who do you see to be the leader for the other starter spot beside barford,Macon,Hannahs, and Kingsley? Thomas?.. Cook?

I love seeing these reports, Don. It’s wonderful to see you posting these.

David, a couple caveats first.

  1. Too early to make an informed choice.
  2. Interest in starting lineups is vastly over-rated (imo)
  3. Starting lineups will vary depending on the opponent.
    4.Starting lineups are less important than the ability to adjust the lineup on the floor with the current situation on the floor.

Having said that, your lineup looks pretty good to me and if you need a big lineup on the floor they could use either Thompson or Cook to replace probably either the 2-guard or small forward.

But ask me again after the trip to Spain and I’ll likely have a different answer for you.

I’m interested to watch Bailey and Hazen in the pre-Spain practices. I’ve envisioned them as combo forwards. The 3/4 are typically pretty interchangeable for Mike.

I think there’ll still be a lot of three-guard lineups this year: Barford, Macon, Hannahs, Beard and Watkins are going to get a lot of minutes. There may not be a ton of playing time left over at the 3, while there’s also substantially more options next to Moses in the frontcourt. But someone with Bailey’s athleticism can carve out a niche on an Anderson team.

On Glasper, I’ve heard a lot of good things about him since he’s started working with the team. He was unstoppable at Forrest City, so I’m interested to see how that translates.

Hey Dog! The official roster breaks down like this:

6-10 Kingsley
6-9 Thompson
6-8 Cook, Hazen, Thomas
6-6 Bailey
6-5 Jones
6-3 Barford, Hannahs, Macon, Watkins
6-0 Beard
5-10 Glasper

Do those heights look right to you compared with how the players look side by side? Of all on the list, the one I expected to come in under advertised height was C.J. Jones, and he didn’t.

Thanks. Worth the price increase in my subscription this month. :slight_smile:

Does Bradford have hops? Just wondering how well he can finish around the basket in midday traffic.

My guess is that we will start the season opener with Kingsley, Thomas, Barford, Hannahs and Beard as starters. Mike will always go with returning players unless the newcomer is clearly superior as is the case with Barford.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on the PG spot, always the area of my focus. I know Mike likes to have two true ball handlers in the backcourt. For that reason, I think he will go with Beard and Barford in the backcourt. I then expect Glasper to push Beard hard. Part of my reasoning is that RJ is a superior ball handler and a far better scorer than Beard. The two Glasper fans I know in Little Rock believe that Glasper will eventually end up getting more minutes than Beard. I am not sure if that will happen for RJ as a freshman, but I am salivating at the thought of Glasper pushing Beard. Your thoughts?

Thanks for the response! WPS!

I like both Bailey and Hazen. I see both as just solid basketball players who will function best without being bound by the parameters of a specific position. We may see them functioning as a 2, 3 or 4 depending on what the situation suggests. And Iagree with you on Glasper as well.

Dog says:

PJ: While I like Beard’s usefulness when we are in an all-out press I don’t think he’ll be able to fight off all the starting competition either at the 1 or 2. He may hang onto the backup PG position behind Barford , but at the 2 he’ll have to fight for time with Hannahs, Macon, Jones, Glasper, Watkins, and maybe even 3’s like Hazen and Bailey.

Like your Little Rock friends I think Glasper will find a niche and it could even be sooner rather than later.

Great stuff as usual, Don. Thank you for making time for that. Look forward to future reports.

Dog says:

Hi Marty. Thanks. But as you can tell I’m having trouble negotiating the procedures in place in the new boards for replying to replies to my post, after the first reply. With respect to the first reply there appears to be a “Post Here” box, but in trying to reply to replies after the first there is no such box and so far I’ve had to improvise in entering my replies . What am I missing?

I don’t think that you are missing anything. Since there is no thread view, there is no way to determine which post you are responding to other than by quoting the post.

I’ve taken to using the quote function, as you did, and then deleting some of the quote if the original post is very long.

Not surprised to hear Cook has a good low post game. I’ve been told since the spring that he would be our best low post player on offense.

Love the positiveness in your post Dog.

I am concerned with points in the paint and rebounding when they play a truly physically tough college team. We are not big inside except for Moses. Those listed at 6’8 are not but I hold out judgement until I see them play. Some play much bigger while play much smaller than their size. I think I will love the size and athleticism of the guards. Plus I think they know how to score. Again will have to hold out judgement on their defensive toughness and bb smarts when they press until they play the better bb teams. We will not catch anyone off guard.

Thanks for your report.

I agree with Don on the lineup questions. Mike is going to change lineups. And, I have always thought that he prefers a three-guard lineup. And, I think depth is the key takeaway in all of this. Got to have depth to play up tempo, even if you don’t press. If you want to play up-up-and-away tempo, having 12-13 is a must. It appears Mike has that. I also suspect that the competition in practice has doubled. You can actually sub in practice in 5-on-5 situations. Could not do that last year.

Good stuff Don. I don’t worry much about the starting line up either, not traditionally anyway, lotta depth. Defense, uptempo, scoring are our ticket. I think all three will continue to improve.

Anybody know who #25 is? The posted a video of trey thompson dunking on twitter and it was a guy in the background I didn’t recognize with a #25 jersey. He’s not listed on the Arkansasrazorbacks website either.

Looks like CJ Jones (although his # is 23). The dunking is #2 Adrio Bailey.