Use the extra scholarship for next year or save it?

Something I’ve been thinking about lately from a roster-building standpoint: does Mike and the staff need to be actively looking to add another piece for next year or would they be better served saving it for a later class? Now that we’re in January, I think we’re starting to get a better picture of what they have. Here’s some thoughts. Apologies for length and rambling.

The framework the staff is dealing with: They’ve got Gafford, Garland and Hall in the 2017 class, which gives them 12 scholarships that are spoken for on next year’s roster. They could add one more person for next year (maybe more if there are defections). They have commits from Perry, Henderson, Sills and Joe in the 2018. If they used the scholarship for someone on next year’s roster (grad transfer, JUCO, high school), they’d still have 2 more spots available for the 2018 class. Obviously 3 if they don’t. And this doesn’t take into account how defections change it, because that’s impossible to forecast. But there’ll probably be a few because that’s just how it goes.

How I think next year’s rotation looks…


And I think it’s important to keep in mind what the 18-19 rotation could look like, for the purposes of this discussion…


For reference: Manny and Dusty average about 45 minutes combined, 43 in games that C.J. plays in. C.J. averages 10.9 minutes.

To me, after watching 14 games, next year’s roster could really use 1) a shooter and 2) another primary ballhandler, a distributor who could break down the defense. Anton is by far the best distributor on the team and I think they’d really benefit from adding another guy who could set people up. Khalil strikes me as more of a combo guard. Is he going to be able to fill this need? Had someone who’s seen him much more than me compare him to a bigger, better Manny type player. That can obviously be a really nice piece and I think Khalil already has the form to develop into a decent shooter in time.

As much as I think the need for another distributor is big, I think the need for shooting may be even more pronounced. Obviously they’ll graduate Dusty. None of the 3 signees appear to be shooters at this stage. Maybe they get there, but they don’t appear to be at this point. C.J. is definitely a shooter and I think he’ll start, average around 22-24 minutes and be a MIP-type guy after a year of developing his all-around game. Still, that leaves him, Daryl and Anton as the only guys you’d consider good shooters on the roster (maybe Brachen really develops and helps, but he’s going to have a lot of competition for minutes). This team already doesn’t shoot many 3s (27.1 percent of their FGAs, last in the SEC and 329th out of 251 teams nationally). And that’s with Dusty.

If they could get a grad transfer or late signee PG who could shoot, that’d be a home run. Obviously everyone wants that kind of player. The lack of shooting/spacing could be an issue next year if they don’t add another piece.

Obviously next year they’ll have Beard, Macon and Barford, but they’re going to have to sign a PG between now and the 2018 class. Sills plays SG for Jonesboro and is more of a combo guy. Think he can be a primary ballhandler, but they’ll need another to add to him and Garland, preferably someone who can get guys shots. In my mind, they need to use at least 2 of the 3 scholarships currently available between now and the 2018 class to add shooting and ballhandling. Joe is a good shooter.

Not sold on their 4s right now, but Thomas and Cook should improve with experience and I think Hall and Bailey can and will be combo 3/4s. So there’s options there.

Things I’m sold on as it relates to the roster moving forward: C.J. Jones, the length they’ll have on the wing and the positional versatility guys like Jones, Hall, Garland and Bailey can provide, Daniel Gafford being really good and a great fit for the system, Reggie Perry being a stud, the Gafford-Perry frontcourt duo, Ethan Henderson’s raw athleticism, Justice Hill as a PG down the line.

The biggest questions are shooting and PG play. Lot of words that probably could’ve been more concise, but just some stuff I’ve been thinking lately. Thoughts, opinions? I haven’t followed who they’re recruiting closely beyond who they already have and haven’t seen some of the in-state guys as much as I’m sure some of you have.

To me it depends on how the rest of the season goes and how players develop. If you have a 25-win season and think you’re a piece from maintaining that level, you go for it.

Likewise, if you fall short of that, I think you use it or you could be saving that scholarship for the next coach.

I think I would prefer a big over a PG. I’m just really excited about Sills and Garland. They’re ballers. And, I expect Macon and Barford (as most Jucos) will be much better in year 2.

And, until Gafford and Perry get here and establish themselves, I am down on the front court (especially w/o Moses.)

Thomas is weak, Thompson has regained weight, Cook is a lunch pail, energy guy and Bailey is a project/tweener that will be a 3 mostly or a high-energy 4, undersized 4.

So, I would use it and look for a Juco or Prep School 4 in the Coty Clarke mold.

The program needs to stack some 25-win, Ncaat teams to maximize its shot at the committed and uncommitted in-state hauls.

Do that and they’ll have much better shots at guys like Chris Moore, Doakes, etc.

Good/interesting thoughts. I’m penciling in Gafford for 25-30 minutes a night. Trey is what he is at this point, a role guy who can give you 10 to maybe 15 a night. You don’t think a Thomas-Cook-Bailey-Hall collective could be good enough at the 4? Thomas and Cook should be better in year 2, like Macon and Barford (which was a good point by you). Have you gotten to see Hall much? I’ve only seen him live once, but from that and a few videos he’s intriguing to me in that he’s 6-6/6-7 but really pathetic and has that 7-foot wingspan. Maybe not ready to play right away?

I really think they need to add shooting.

Do you think Sills and Garland are collectively going to be able to run the show down the road? I’ve only seen videos and read about their games. I’d think Mike adds another lead guard type in the '18 class at the latest.

Help me out, who are Moore and Doakes?

Re those 4s being good enough, I’m just down on them right now. I get really frustrated when talented ppl struggle due to laziness. I would put Thompson in that category.

He had a very good game against Ben Simmons last year and could have continued to improve and play for $ someday.

Instead, he appears to have hit the cafeteria.

And, Thomas is just too weak. I think his only effective role would be as an OK rebounder and stretch 4. But, he cowers against similar size and his shot has been hit and mostly miss.

I do think Sills and Garland can be stop-gap
Combo guard/point guards until Hill arrives.

Both have solid handles and are explosive. I watched Sills last night and am convinced Hog fans will love him. He’s not great at anything but he’s very good at everything.

And, most telling of all, he was guarding his butt off in the 3q up 30+ points.

My brother knows him and says he is a natural leader and a great kid–the kind his peers trust and follow.

I’ll put it this way–Jonesboro has no one who will wow you. And they’re deservedly ranked, nationally and he’s their best player and leader.

I haven’t seen Garland expect on film and just about every time I do he Go-go gadget arms a dunk on someone’s head from the circle. He’s toolsy. Needs to work on his strength and his shot but he’s long and has good hops and handles.

Hall is an X factor to me. I can’t decide what I think. To me he looks like a free safety playing hoops. That isn’t always bad. I like that he really cares about bringing the program back and he looks like he’s a great fit defensively. He needs to improve his shot and handles. He has Qualls-like potential.

Chris Moore is 6-6 220 lb man child freshman at W. Memphis. He looks like a mini Al Jefferson (you know that’s a great Comp DD) who can run and many think he will grow and be a McDs AA type player.

W. Memphis has great history and he’s the first freshman to ever play varsity there.

Here’s a rundown of the 2020 guys in Arkansas. They’re legit and if you can win with your current roster and commits over the next several classes, then all of a sudden your program is back where it belongs. … 0-rankings

Great stuff. Prompted me to go look for footage of him and I had managed not to see this yet… (I’m apparently not smart enough to figure out how to actually embed it)

That was pretty impressive. Hit a lot of 3s, loved the Euros, had some nice dishes. Wonder if he’s a legit 6-1?

I think the staff will save the last scholarship unless one of these two things happen. 1. They find a worthwhile transfer that can sit out a year that they feel is worth the scholarship, or 2. There is a transfer, which we’ve had at least one every single year since before CMA even got here, so this is probably the most likely scenario.

As far as 2018 class, I think it will be pretty big, I expect us to sign at least 6 guys. Most likely it will be 7 guys factoring in at least 1 transfer. Wouldn’t be surprised to see at least 1 JUCO or grad transfer in that 6-7, just to give us a little more age and help balance the classes. We have 4 guys committed now, I think we most definitely take a PG, and then with the last scholarship you can really go in any direction and take the best possible player.

The word I got on him was that he has improved a lot since last year (coming from a Jonesboro guy I know who liked him but didn’t love him as a player last year).

He’s a legit 6’1 I think. Plays strong. Football player mentality. Now tries to throw down on people’s heads.

He’s a guy that will not wow you but will win a lot of games and be one that everyone loves.

Nice writeup. Few comments.

More I see Garland and Hall, I am beginning to believe that Garland is a perfect 3 for the system and Hall is going to grow into a perfect 4 with ability to play 3 when we go against bigger teams. Meaning that they will play a bigger 4 and slide Hall to 3 to get more size on the court.

I think next year CJ and Garland play the 3.

Also I think you are underestimating Barford. I think he is as good a shooter as Beard. But obviously Barford is going to have to prove it.

I think the last scholarship should go to a Juco big, so that we don’t have a huge 2018 freshman class. I agree that Thomas and Cook with another year of experience should be able carry us. On the other hand, we are on to so many great 2018 prospects, you may want to save the scholarship, I am glad I am not the decider.

I’ll throw in my .02.

I’m with Pig.
I think we have to add a productive big next year.
We are loaded up on guards.
Beard, Macon, CJ are all reliable shooters.
I think Barford will keep coming in that department and Glasper is reportedly a decent shooter as well.
I think Beard, Macon, Barford, and yes, even Glasper will be productive enough rotating through PG.

Moses is the only thing we have right now that even resembles a post threat, and he’s been, well, pretty bad.
And he’s obviously gonna be gone.
If you don’t bring in a post guy, where are your inside points going to come from next year??
Gafford? That’s putting an awful lot on a true freshman.

IMO, we are a real post threat away from being really dangerous THIS year.

Just don’t see how you don’t go after a big for that last 2017.

I believe that Glasper is the answer at backup PG for next season. I hope he earns a scholarship. The young man can really play.

I’m with you on Glasper. Not just a quick little ball handler. The guy can also shoot.

Glasper will be interesting to watch develop. For those who have seen him play, is he capable of being a distributor? I know he can score. They’ve got plenty of scoring guards. He didn’t stand out a ton in August, but obviously he was new.

I still think I’d prioritize it…

  1. distributing PG
  2. shooting
  3. a 4

Agreed on Hall. His length and athleticism should allow him to play the 4. If he and Adrio can be combo guys, that unlocks a lot of stuff.

I don’t get this at all. Who is the low post player? Gafford is 217 pounds. Hope you are not penciling in Thompson or anyone else on this roster. Arkansas’s biggest talent mismatch is up front. Gafford helps, but where are the widebodies? High % low post scoring, physical defense and rebounding?

We keep playing opponents that have 240-260 pound guys who can score, leap, defend and rebound. Gafford is a good offset against the Devin Robinson types, but who is the power player?

These are my sentiments exactly that I stated in a previous post that got no response.
Our only guy resembling a low post option is leaving.

Where are the post options?


Who have we played that is 240-260 pound guys who can score, leap, defend and rebound?

I just don’t think there’s a huge need for a big bruising guy. You aren’t going to find a ton of college teams with guys that fit what you mentioned and the ones that are, are most likely one-and-done. Sure, if you can get a 6-10, 255-pound athletic freak like Bam, that’s great. But those don’t grow on trees and given the choice, I’d rather a lighter, more athletic guy than a heftier dude any day, especially given the system.

I also think you’re selling Gafford a bit short. He’ll put on weight. For context, Moses weighed in at 211 before his senior year and is close to 240 now. Bobby was 215 and is listed at 250 now. Daniel weighed in at 223 at the Nike Basketball Academy this summer and I think he’s the most athletic of the trio. He’ll be fine. He’ll be the nominal 5 in Mike’s system and play 25-30 minutes a night.

That’s what’s funny. We haven’t played a lot of opponents that have 240-260 pound guys who can score, leap, defend and rebound. There probably aren’t 5 such players in all of college hoops.

And, I’ve watched Gafford. He will be a very good big man. He’s not going to lack for impact on the defensive end. He’s an elite rebounder and shot blocker that averaged a triple double.

I’m not sure why there’s this notion that he will be helpless down low. Go watch his film. He’s legit.

I don’t care how much he weighs.

I’m just asking if we don’t add some sort of a post threat, what real inside scoring presence will we have?

We are struggling there this year and our only semblance of a threat is leaving.
Who will we turn to when a defense dictates we feed the post for a. bucket?

Would it be nice to add a great pg or combo? Sure.

I thought the question was, what is our greatest need.

I think we need another big. I also think Gafford, Trey, Cook, Bailey, Hall provide passable forward options, particularly if our guards are very good.

Basketball at every level is going away from the clog the lane, feed the post on every possession, plodding, old-school style.

I expect Gafford to average point production similar to Moses’.

Kingsley isn’t a big scorer. We are actually most inefficient when we try to make him into something he is not.