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.