Thursday practice observations + Moses update

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Quick thoughts…

— Dustin Thomas is going to start next to Moses Kingsley, barring someone making a sizable leap between now and the start of the season. He can shoot, is athletic and has some playmaking potential. Need to watch him more as a defender.

— Adria Bailey’s aggression and mindset have been encouraging signs. He’s got a lot of potential, so I’ll be interested to see if he can carve out a niche in the rotation.

— Included an update on Moses in there, based on what’s come out of LA this week. Seems pretty positive. There are also some areas he can definitely improve as he looks toward a potential NBA career, which this week has no doubt helped point out and address.

These reports are quite detailed and thorough. Really good info.
Awesome job, greatly appreciated.

I am pumped for this season already!

Going to be really interesting to see how Mike gives minutes.
Lots of options.

I posted this in another thread. Obviously this can/will change a ton in the next few months and into the season and the rotation will be bigger depending on the opponent. But I said this is what I’d guess if they had to go play Kentucky tomorrow.

Starting 5
G Macon - 26 minutes
G Hannahs - 28 minutes
G Barford - 26 minutes
F Thomas - 22 minutes
F Kingsley - 30 minutes

G Beard - 20 minutes
G Watkins - 20 minutes
F Thompson - 20-22 minutes
F Cook - 16-18 minutes

I could see Bailey taking some playing time from Cook as the season moves along if he progresses.

Thanks for all of your practice coverage along with your thoughts. If you were to add one more player to the second unit that you project (and thus make it a complete five-man second group) who do you think has the best shot of being that 10th guy to join Beard, Watkins, Thompson and Cook?

Jimmy, I agree with most of your minutes the players will play except you have 9 players getting approximately 210 minutes which there is only 200 minutes to give plus you do not have any minutes going to the other 3 players. But you are pretty close.

I agree with Jimmy on Adrio Bailey. He seems to move well without the ball and was attacking missed shots as well as anyone yesterday. He doesn’t stop moving and you want that in a full court system like Arkansas wants to play.

And that was both before and after taking a hard shot to the face, spending a couple minutes lying on the floor and a minute or two on then bench before re-entering the game… a show of toughness that I imagine pleased the staff. He has a way to go with his shot beyond 10 feet or so, but as the similarly endowed Michael Qualls showed us after his first season that’s very do-able.

Bailey is Qualls like as a freshman. You won’t see anyone with better athletic skills and I am sure that they are going to grow as he spends time in the weight room. There is a lot to like About Adrio Bailey.

Any CJ Jones sightings? He hasn’t been mentioned much in these reports. I noticed in one video clip that his length forced a bad pass. Since some observers have also praised his ability to knock down treys and score, I’m interested in his potential to get into the rotation this season as a 3 and D wing.

Yeah, error on my part. I’d take it out of Cook’s minutes.

I’d say Bailey. I like his aggressiveness and athleticism and think he can carve out a niche for himself to get on the floor. Obviously that gives you three bigs in the second five, but I think the five guards will rotate at 3 spots. I suppose Thomas could play on the wing in a 3-big lineup, but he seems like Mike’s prototypical 4.

I don’t know that Jones or Glasper will be ready to play this year, but I like Jones’ upside a lot. He could be someone that comes on as the season gets closer or it could take a year or two. Has the tools to be a really good piece, just a matter of when/if he can put it together.

He’s got a really nice shot. Solid form and has knocked down 3s at probably the third-highest rate in drills this week. He’s probably the most athletic player on the team. Ton of bounce. And like you said, he’s got a lot of length to go along with being 6-5.

That said, he’s raw He has a tendency to float around and just be out there at times. He had a nice drive and kick one day, but hasn’t done a whole lot in live settings. His handle is weak and loose at this point, which has led to him being stripped several times when he’s tried to make a play off the bounce. Needs to get lower.

But I really, really like his potential moving forward as his game grows. May not be this year or even next year with the group of guards in front of him, but I think his ceiling is as high as anyone on the team because of his length, athleticism and shot. If he puts in the work, he can be a difference maker down the road.

Distribution of your minutes assumes a three guard lineup the entire game. I don’t think that will be the case. I think Thomas will play both the 3 and 4 and Cook will get more than 8 minutes. Really, Kingsley, Tjompson and Cook are the only three true front court players on this team that are ready to play. I am assuming Hazen has ways to go.

I think they’ll go with 3 guards the lion’s share of the time. I really like Thomas and he could probably play next to two of the bigs, but obviously if you do that, you’re taking away minutes from the guards.

Hazen has really struggled defensively all week, regardless of who he’s guarded. On the other end, he can’t put the ball on the floor without turning it over at this point, so he’s really limited to being a floor spacer who can crash for the occasional offensive board. He’ll be a good shooter, but I don’t know that he’s good enough to warrant a ton of playing time this year. Maybe I’m wrong. But the defensive issues have been pretty pronounced and probably will be until he adds strength. He is a very good leaper.

Jimmy,

Really appreciate you and the rest of the staff. For us basketball junkies this has been great stretch for both practice reports and recruiting information these past couple of weeks.

From the practice reports you’ve given seems like you think the core is pretty much set with those first 9 upperclassmen. Seems like a pretty typical CMA team he usually has a core of 9-10 guys then you may have 1 or 2 other guys that are “situational” that may not play every game.

Only thing I’m thinking different from you is the starting lineup. For some reason I just can’t picture CMA starting 3 guys that haven’t played for him when he has other veterans that have played multiple years that aren’t bad. Obviously the 4 spot he has to play a new guy there because all of them are new, from your reports seems like Thomas is leading the way there. Barford is the #1 JUCO player and really don’t have a guard that can attack like he can, so I can see him starting. Macon is the one I’m unsure of. I think even though he may be a little better than the other guys, I still think to start the season CMA goes with 1 more veteran in the starting lineup and goes with Beard or Watkins. And uses Macon as the primary scorer in the second unit, he seems to like a bringing a guy off the bench that can give instant offense. Remember the start of last year, even though Dusty was clearly better than Whitt, he was brought off the bench, because CMA liked a scoring presence in the second unit. What are your thoughts on that possibility?

It’s funny you bring that up, because I wrote about that today in the observations. Gonna just post that here…

— If the starting backcourt is Daryl Macon, Dusty Hannahs and Jaylen Barford, it appears Macon would be the best bet to guard quick opposing point guards. His ability to move laterally and slide his feet can help cut off penetration at the point of attack. Whether that’s the starting backcourt remains to be seen, but it seems like the most natural choice, unless Arkansas is facing a team with a big scoring wing, in which case Watkins could fit. I suppose the argument could be made that one of those players would be better served coming off the bench to provide a scoring punch, but the rotation can be staggered so that two of them are on the court at most times. Hannahs is the team’s most natural scorer and Macon appears to be the best distributor in the backcourt, so it would seemingly come down to Barford or Watkins. I’d go with the additional primary ballhandler in Barford, who has the physicality to match some of what Watkins brings to the table. This is as much a discussion of who should close as who should start.

Based on this week, I think Macon is a better defender, shooter and distributor than Barford, so I’d lean toward starting him. Then, in my mind, it’s between starting Barford or Watkins. I think Mike can stagger the rotation to where he’s always got a scorer on the court.

But I can see where you’re coming from as far as Mike going with experience. Makes you think Anton could have a chance to start, but he hasn’t been as effective — this week — as the others.

I had posted this on the old board few weeks ago. I had mentioned for the Opening Day, the starting lineup will be Kingsley, Thomas, Dusty, Beard and Barford. This was based on history, CMA likes to start with experience and work from there. Thomas would be considered experienced because of he being here for a year now.

Based on your reporting since the practice and what Coach Zimmerman has been saying on the radio last several weeks, I change my Opening Day lineup now to either Macon or Barford.

I think the starting lineup you mentioned of Kingsley, Thomas, Macon, Dusty and Barford is the most probable lineup we will see starting Game 5 or so.

Just finished reading the entire article.

So, you think Macon is a better distributor right now? That’s surprising considering most though Barford was the better distributor among the two and we thought Barford would be our starting PG for these next 2 years. Sounds like we may have been sleeping on Macon, I know you’ve been very high on him as well as some others that are on other boards that have seen him play.

In your opinion, is Macon just performing that well and is the better player right now? Or, is Barford just going to take minute to adjust from JUCO and struggling a little bit?

Yea, I remember a discussion about the starting lineup on the old board. I agree with the lineup that you mentioned as the most probable starting lineup on the first game. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Seems like the new guys are obviously outplaying these guys from the reports. Is this what Jimmy Whitt saw coming, and the reason he left? Because I admit, when he announced he was leaving, I was thinking to myself why would he leave when he should be able to outplay first year JUCO guys and be a starter.

Macon was a more willing, intuitive passer this week. Whether that’s a one-week thing or indicative of what they’ll play like moving forward obviously remains to be seen. Barford averaged 6.5 assists per 40 minutes at his JUCO last year, Macon 3.9. Pretty sizable difference, but Barford did have the ball in his hands a lot more. He averaged 27.7 shots per 40, Macon 23. Of course they’re in different roles now than they were for their JUCO teams.

I’ll say that Macon impressed me with a lot of quick reads and creative, smart passes this week. Showed some good vision. Barford had some nice setups, but was also very aggressive hunting his shot, which is fine - he’s a good scorer.

I think both should/will start for most of the year. This week, Macon was the better/more willing passer. He’s also clearly a better defender and shooter, which is why I’d lean toward him over Barford. Both are good options.