State of the Hogs: Musselman has work to do

Here’s a look ahead:

http://www.wholehogsports.com/news/2019 … s-work-do/

One year of maturity, Justice Hill added to the point guard position, and a couple of “men” graduate transfers or JC recruits and this bunch could be competitive next year with a chance for the NCAA’s. Now, with Musselman, the chance to get some better transfers is greater and the potential to improve is also better. Musselman’s system may give Chaney, Olu, Henderson, and Ali a chance to really develop a strong role in this system that would not have been as much the case in CMA’s. If one of the recruits is the five star that might follow CEM to Arkansas, that boosts this team’s potential.

As always, this is a great read. I recommend it to all Razorback basketball fans. I believe great things are ahead for Musselman and the hogs, eventually better than we’ve seen over Anderson’s tenure, but it will likely take longer than many fans expect.

I also recommend Bob Holt’s story on Darrell Walker. Darrell is also optimistic about Musselman but ends with some cautionary quotes…

“I think if you can win like he did at Nevada – where the resources aren’t as great as Arkansas’ resources – then he should have a good chance to win [with the Razorbacks],” Walker said. “Now, I’ve also got to say that Arkansas is in the SEC. That’s a different monster. But he knows what it takes to win.”

“I understand Arkansas people might think Mike didn’t get it done, but he’s a d*** good coach and I’d take his record any day,” Walker said. “You look at what he’s done over his whole career and it’s pretty impressive. I’d take it in a heartbeat.”

If there is no player added to the front court to replace Gafford, I agree with your take.

But that is not realistic. So, I have to disagree with you. Either Mike or Mussleman now would replace Gafford with some Juco or grad transfer. With that addition, I think either Mike or Muss would take this roster to NCAAT. It is our hope that Muss would take it deeper than Mike. That is based on the general opinion Muss is a far better coach than Mike.

Muss himself explained why this roster would make the tournament. He said a player makes the biggest improvement between freshman and sophomore season. Joe, Sills, Chaney and Jones (even though he is a sophomore now but a first year Div One player) plus Henderson should be a lot better, That is 5 players and that is a lot.

Need a versatile big who can hit the 15 footer (not an easy find), a wing player and the best available (a scorer). Until told otherwise I am going to assume that Khalil Garland never plays a minute as a Hog (damn shame).

One thing I have to disagree with Clay on is that Simpson was one of the two best players on the team…He never showed that. Rest mostly agree with…Except that I think that with just bringing in two players in the right positions would put this team in the tournament…JMO

Agreed. That must be some sort of typo. Simpson by season’s end was 5th in a 5 guard rotation.

Need a versatile big who can hit the 15 footer (not an easy find), a wing player and the best available (a scorer).

[/quote]

Chaney showed he can hit that 15 foot jumper, with the summer under his belt, I would expect him to be more aggressive in looking for that shot

Chaney showed he can hit that 15 foot jumper, with the summer under his belt, I would expect him to be more aggressive in looking for that shot

[/quote]

Yup.

[quote=“PJHawg”]

If there is no player added to the front court to replace Gafford, I agree with your take.

But that is not realistic. So, I have to disagree with you. ]Either Mike or Mussleman now would replace Gafford with some Juco or grad transfer. With that addition, I think either Mike or Muss would take this roster to NCAAT. It is our hope that Muss would take it deeper than Mike. That is based on the general opinion Muss is a far better coach than Mike.

Muss himself explained why this roster would make the tournament. He said a player makes the biggest improvement between freshman and sophomore season. Joe, Sills, Chaney and Jones (even though he is a sophomore now but a first year Div One player) plus Henderson should be a lot better, That is 5 players and that is a lot.

[/quote]I agree with this…I have felt this “freshmen” class might be the best returning class (sans the big/Gafford) that MA would have had in his 8 years. It’s a very nice group for Muss to start (especially IJoe).

I agree and that will probably put us deeper into the tournament.

However, I was thinking we were a couple of narrow losses that could have been wins away from the tournament with Gafford. And then if we just replace Gafford with a decent big and then with the normal natural improvement for the five players I mentioned, it should get us into the tournament.

I do not know enough on some of the players to comment but I think they have a very good nucleus coming back. They have a lot of depth at the two guard spots but none of the guards are big and strong enough to handle the small forward spot and I think this is one of their big needs. I also think they would be best served if they could recruit a talented center but I am confident that Chaney can handle the center position.

Osabuohien has excellent defensive skills, handles the ball pretty well and he runs really well for a 6’8" player. I think Musselman can help him with his shooting and I expect that he will be greatly improved. Henderson is very athletic but lacks strength but a summer of lifting weights might make him a lot better.

Hill, Sills & Harris are all three nice point guard options but Harris to be effective must learn to shoot from the outside. I do not think that Musselman will play two of the small guards at the same time. Joe and Jones are excellent strong guard options and maybe Garland will finally get on the floor. I do not think any of the three have enough strength to play the small forward position.

Greatest Needs:
Priority #1. Small forward that can shoot the ball yet is big enough to defend and rebound. (The 5 star from California that has been offered would be a nice fit. only 6’5 but he is strong and can really jump)

Priority #2. Depth at Center - probably a transfer option

Prediction: I think they will be improved and I think they make the big dance but they have to pick up two really good players to make that happen.

In this system, not looking for any 10-15 foot jumpers, it’s 3 or inside that distance.

Correct. Three or paint, basically.

Yes there is an emphasis on the 3, but there always be a place for an open mid-range jumper.

Agree with you. I think it is 3 or dribble penetration inside and then if the guard can’t go all the way to the hoop, he may dish out for a 3 or a mid range jumper. I think that is not a unique system. Most coaches do that now. Even Mike did that until either fan pressure or his own decision (not having enough shooters), he went to “Gafford must touch on every possession” system.

Keyshawn Embery-Simpson never showed it? How did he do at LSU? I think he scored 16 at Baton Rouge. I wouldn’t ignore losing Keyshawn.

Not ignoring what he did in a few games, just stating that he was not one of the two best players on the team.

Spot on and exactly my thinking on what Muss can do for this team and the bigs! Muss coaches fundamental ball and that should be huge for the bigs!

Embery-Simpson did have a few nice games, but he certainly was not one of the best players. At the end of the season, I would rank him as the 4th or 5th best guard on the team. Joe, Jones, and Stills played much better than Embery-Simpson. I would rank him about equal with Harris. Harris is a much better ball handler and is a quicker defender. Embery-Simpson is a much better shooter than Harris. I don’t think he is a major loss. Gafford is a big loss

I fully expect Muss to get at least 2 more bigs. I am sure that he knows just how bad play at the 4 has been for the last 3 years. A 6-10 or bigger 5 would help also.

The last slot should go to the best available player.

I also think that player development will be clearly better and the players will be much more effective.

I know that it will take the current players to improve greatly and Muss must find some bigs. If that happens, I expect that we will be a NCAA tournament team.

I really think that we can return to our past glory. This hire seems to be right. WPS