What’s next?

I really do not know where this team is now and sure am clueless about where we will be in mid March. This team has looked good at times and just plain bad at times. Let’s try to figure out where we are and guess where we will be after the SEC Tournament.

After roughly half of our games, we have some ares of strength. Gafford has continued to improve at a fast pace. His best skill is dunking from close range, both in half court and transition He is effective shooting around the basket with good post moves. His extra strength and weight make he a much better rebounder. He can make short jump shots, but he not as consistent as he will be later in his career. While I don’t expect him to be a 80% free throw percentage man, I do think that he can easily be a 65-70% shooter. He clearly is the best player on this team.

The 4 remains a big problem, especially when Adrio and Gabe are on the floor. Chaney has flashed some skill and toughness in the paint. I hope that role will change from being Gafford’s backup to playing most of the minutes at the four. When he plays, it is a plus. When Adrio or Gabe play, the 4 is a big liability.

Mason Jones has been a great surprise. He has turned into an offensive weapon. His handle is decent and his defense is pretty good. Joe is talented and can be a dangerous weapon with his smooth stroke from 3 point land. He plays pretty good defense and can handle the ball. His teammates need to set strong screens and he needs to take the open shot. Harris is a good point guard. SEC play has hurt his assist to turnovers ratio. He should be able to get that back to a good ratio as he gains SEC experience. He must improve his 3point shooting to keep his defender off him and that will let him penetrate and dish.

Sills and Embrey- Simpson have played good defense and showed flashes of being able to score in bunches. Stills can run the point and Embrey-Simpson can handle the ball. They, like the other freshmen, need SEC experience.

What does all this mean? I think at this time, the team has overachieved (Indiana, Texas A&M) and underachieved(Florida, Georgia Tech). I think that rest of our
games are tough. If they can have solid play, they could finish 9-9 in conference games. If we play like we did against Florida, they will be lucky to win more than a couple of games. The most likely outcome will be 5-6 more wins.

This team has talent. If they continue to run their offense through Gafford, they might surprise us, Jones needs to continue his excellent play. Harris gets back to a 4-1 assist turnover and can make a few more shots. Joe learns how to score off screens. And play Chaney. We could surprise, but it will take an overachieving effort by both the players and the coaching staff. WPS

The problem with this team is Mike Anderson, a good recruiter but not much of a bench coach and having two assistants who either can’t lend anything or MA won’t let them. There are two former players coaching in Little Rock that would likely jump at the chance to be an assistant at Arkansas and would certainly be an upgrade.

This team will get better. How much better and by when, I don’t know. But, I do know that experience will make them better.

I also think Mike knows he probably needs to improve his coaching bench, but I think it’ll require a coach leaving or retiring. I just don’t think he’ll ask them to leave.

That said, I don’t think this team lost to Florida or LSU because of coaching. I think they lost because of youth. I’m sure some will disagree with that, but that’s my belief. Do we need better assistants? yes. But, I can’t say it would have resulted in W’s the past two games.

I hope going forward, we see more tempo and chaos, without turning the ball over. But, I don’t know how much he can run these young legs. It’s the situation he got himself in to, but my hope is that these guys stick around 3-4 years and we have something special. I don’t think any other coach could do it quicker, so I’m willing to make my bed with MA.

I enjoyed reading your post. Every year the hogs have improved after the mid point of conference play. They will need a big improvement but it’s possible.

We are 16 point underdogs tomorrow night. We most likely will be underdogs the rest of the season. I’ve seen every team in our conference play. I hate to say this but we are in the bottom 2 or 3 in the conference. This should never happen!!

I have watched every team in the SEC play as well. We are no worse than middle of the pack. We should have beaten Florida and we will finish above them.

Here’s my thought once the games are played and it tourney time

  1. Tenn
  2. Auburn
  3. Kentucky
    4.Ole Miss
  4. Arkansas
  5. LSU
  6. Miss St
  7. Alabama
  8. South Carolina
  9. Florida
  10. Vandy
  11. Missouri
  12. Texas A@M
  13. Georgia

I really don’t think 3 games in any of us can put it in any real order but this is my thought.
Last years seniors laden team played horrible for a stretch and got beat bad! This group plays hard and fights. Maybe they learn to win and hit free throws They don’t stop playing they are young.

This was posted 6 days ago. Ouch.

Knowing one of them extremely well, I would tell you that you are assuming things that are not accurate.

Pretty easy to jump on CMA and Gafford after the watching these last couple of games so I will sort of repeat my post from about this time from last year. If the game plan is to have Gafford setting screens beyond the top of the circle you should expect the results to be that he is out of position for offensive rebounds. If the game plan is to have Gafford switching on defense to remain 30 feet from basket on a six foot guard then expect the opponents big to have his way under the basket. That said, it appears to be CMA’s coaching plan for every game. I have no clue who is coaching our Bigs?? Put me in the column
that believes that Gafford will not be drafted in the first round much less Lottery territory. Somebody said that and it has become folklore, that’s just my opinion.

You’ll be that column all alone. Gafford at worst case scenario will be a guy taken in the early 20s in the draft.

Nbadraft.net has him as #10 in their update mock draft and Draftexpress I believe has him at #17, I’m not a subscriber to them, but that was the last update I heard. These are probably the 2 most respected NBA draft sites, and these guys talk to a lot of scouts and GMs, they aren’t just throwing baseless opinions out there.

Also, you realize Gafford is averaging 16.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 2.1 BPG. So, it sounds kinda ridiculous when you try to down the kid and act like he isn’t one of the top big men in the country. You won’t find many bigs that are putting up those numbers.

Yes your right and I’m eating crow! Pretty miserable game. I just wonder when the light will come on.

NBA Draft has him as #10 to Atlanta. DraftExpress is now working with ESPN, so I can’t see their mock (I don’t pay for insiders from ESPN), but they do have the Top 100 ranked prospects, Dan is #25

Gafford can’t get sky-high for ever game. However, every big man that plays against him gets sky-high and has their best game of the year. That is why Gafford don’t appear to be as good as he is. If they big men that play against Gafford had average games, it would be obvious how much better Gafford is.

The problem Arkansas is having is, other than Gafford, we don’t have any outstanding players. Our other starters would not start on most SEC teams. We have a couple of good shooters, but they are not as quick and athletic as players on other SEC teams. That is why they don’t shoot better; they are too easy to guard.

From a guy that watches a lot of SEC basketball, I can tell you Jones and Joe would start on a lot of SEC teams and if not start be a major part of of almost every team in the league. Joe is leading freshman scorer in the SEC. Mason Jones dropped 30 against Florida, who is one of the best defensive teams in the league, and averaging 14 PPG.

Just off the top of my head I know both of them would start immediately on Missouri, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Georgia. Just because guys are a young team and they aren’t gelling yet doesn’t mean they aren’t good. All these guys on Tennessee that you guys like to brag so much about struggled to gel when they were freshmen, doesn’t mean those guys weren’t talented or outstanding as you put it, it just meant the were young and inexperienced, I remember watching them their freshmen/sophomore years, they were good individually just hadn’t put it together as a team yet.

Wow Gay. That’s a bit harsh. They may not start at McDonald’s All American U “Kentucky” but everywhere else they would start. Gafford would start as well.
Next year take your paint brush and give another assessment.