Wednesday Hoops Practice Observations

Jimmy Carter got video and will post soon. I will give you my observations from Wednesday’s workout at the new practice facility as he loads it onto the server.

First, I was interested to listen to Trey Thompson before the practice. He sounds more confident and he showed that again Wednesday with another beautiful swish on a 3-pointer in the scrimmage portion of the open workout. He promised that it’s not where he’s going to hang out in games, but his range is there. It’s impressive.

Thompson said he’s at 270 and wants to be at 265 for the start of the season, but he’s pretty svelt at 270 and it appears to be a good weight for the big man.

Thompson played the center spot for one of the team’s in the scrimmage and did well. It’s fun to watch him continue to develop.

There is little doubt that this team is improved. Darryl Macon is a joy to watch. He bombed a three when Robert Glasper gave him an inch, but he spent most of the scrimmage dishing to open teammates. He’s smooth and polished at the point and is a very good defensive player.

It’s clear that this team has talent at the four position, something it did not last year. I would not be surprised if Dustin Thomas isn’t a big contributor at the four. Some think of him as a three, but I like him more as a four. He’s gained strength and is polished with the basketball.

Brachen Hazen showed a strong finish around the basket and is going to help this team. I’m thinking his more of a three position player. He’s still gaining strength and needs more time in the weight room, but he’s going to be a nice get for this team.

Jalen Barford is a beast. He’s going to shoot a lot of foul shots because he goes to the basket with force. He was fouled several times in the scrimmage, although fouls are not called.

Dusty Hannahs looks stronger. I think his time in the weight room this summer has done him some good. He’s strong with the basketball. He’s always good at finding an opening for his shot, but he might be able to finish a little better after contact.

The athleticism across the board is apparent. Length and quickness is improved. It’s fun to watch them go at each other and it is intense.

I was interested as Mike Anderson stopped practice at one point and went to the video board on the end of the court to show them something that was happening on a fast break that last year’s team was able to do. He pointed out the mistakes they had just made with some positive feedback from the video display. I loved to see that interaction with Anderson and his players and the use of the new tools at his disposal.

Of course, this team is still blossoming. How Macon develops at the point is a key to the season. It’s clear that he’s the top man there, although Anton Beard is a good one, too.

It’s also clear that Manny Watkins has improved his shot. There were two-man drills that were competitive. Each two-man team had to make seven shots at each of the eight baskets around the court. Manny and Dusty won the drill both times as far as I could tell. If Manny can hit those shots, it changes the way the team will be played defensively and will make Moses Kingsley an entirely different offensive force. It’s fun to contemplate that change.

I’ll be back at practice Thursday when they move to Bud Walton Arena. These last three days have been at the practice facility.

I thought Barford was the point guard. Regardless, I imagine him and Macon both start

Clay, thanks for the observations and great insight! What caught my attention most is you mentioned Macon at the point…was under the impression that Barford was walking into that job. Is it looking like he will slide to the 2 with Daryl running point?

You beat me to it (didn’t see your response until I already added mine).

If Daryl is the 1 I would imagine Barford might be the 3 with Hannahs at the 2? Not that it really matters all that much in our system but does to some degree.

Macon played 2 in high school.

Would not be surprised if Macon guarded the opposing PG on defense and Barford guarded the two, where matchups favored that setup.

I actually like the idea of Macon at Pt and Barford at the 2 spot. In the videos I’ve seen, I just see Barford as a tenacious “bucket getter”… He’s not as smooth as Macon with the ball. When Barford has the ball… he has cruel intentions… I see that mentality better for this team off the ball offensively.

Macon is more controlled and I think that along with his length is going to help A LOT. Beard does a good job too, but sometimes with his lack of athleticism and height, he has problems with the longer/bigger guards guarding him.

I also think Arlando Cook is going to be better than we realize. He and Thomas is going to add a lot at the 4/stretch 4 position. It’s going to be hard for the others to squeeze in for minutes imo.

Trey’s shot looked very natural with the 3 and a couple turnarounds. Expect a big jump from him this year.

Glasper looked good handling the ball too. What a benefit to have someone like that walk-on.

Will come at teams in waves from the backcourt.

Cook looks like a beast… just need a little offense. Just watched the 5 on 5 video today and Cook looked great.

Just based on a couple of articles I’ve read, if Barford isn’t playing the point, he’s going to be an unhappy player. In the articles I read, Barford said he wanted to play the point at Arkansas because he felt that would be his NBA position.

Both Macon and Barford can play the point. I like them both. They may be interchangeable.

I like hearing about the video board. Interesting stuff. What a great tool. I would have loved to see Coach A in that setting. Being able to go the video and break it down instantly is a huge deal. Great part of the facility. Good stuff. I bet that was great to watch. Thanks Clay.

That could be true Harley… but whether he brings the ball up on dead ball situations or not… I think he’s going to have plenty opportunity to push the ball and demonstrate his PG skills in transition on live ball situations. I don’t think that would effect his stock. Main thing he’s going to have to show, is an ability to get others involved and an ability to hit the open jumpshot… he can do both of those at either the 2 or the 1 in this system.


One of the reasons you see CMA go after combo guards a lot is because it gives him the ability to attack or initiate the offense at the fast tempo he wants. The bigs don’t have to spend their time looking for one player. Get it to a guard and go. tye motion offense is not rigid. Most times, the three perimeter positions do the same thing. Pass and screen away or in late shot clock situations, call for the ball screen and execute based on the defense. The roles of 1,2,3,4 and 5 don’t really come into play until a dead ball, which is when we try to execute set plays.

Jalen Barford is a beast. He’s going to shoot a lot of foul shots because he goes to the basket with force. He was fouled several times in the scrimmage, although fouls are not called.

The best thing I read in this post. Getting to the foul line is a skill. I am hoping Barford is a 75% foul shooter and has the strength to convert some And 1’s.


Barford will shoot a lot of free throws. I think I saw some true toughness on the floor in practice Wednesday. Defense is improved. The main point I’d hammer home, there are plenty of good guards on this team. Macon, Barford and Hannahs are all terrific. I was very pleased with what I saw from Dustin Thomas and Trey Thompson. Moses Kingsley is at Nike Academy now and he will add a lot to what is there now. I saw 15 minutes of scrimmage time. So it’s just a small glimpse. Hard to form huge opinions on that small of a snapshot. Clearly, Barford can play the point. But Macon can, too.

Arkansas needed a solid 1 last season and got that from Jabril Durham.

It is going to work interchangeable this year.

Ball handlers and scorers abound this season.

It’s going to be different this year. Yes, everyone thinks one guy has to be the man as the point guard. I actually talked to Jabril yesterday and that’s what he’s waiting to see, who takes command of the point guard position. I do think either Barford or Macon can initiate the offense from either the one or the two. Won’t matter. Mike played point guard alongside Paul Pressey, who initiated the offense as a point forward. That’s what makes Mike’s offensive system good. It won’t matter.

Dudley knows these guys better than me and he’s not worried about the guard play. It’s going to be good.

The original point being this team does not have a pure PG. And that worries me. It is kind of like when a coach says that he has two starting QBs.