Who is the alpha on this team? Some would say it’s Barford, but I say it’s Macon. It might change from night to night. There may be some nights it’s Beard, too. And, you can say that the player with the most talent is Gafford. Open for discussion.
I think it’s Macon because the ball will be in his hands the most. At least, that’s my opinion. Not saying I’m 100 percent sold on that, but that’s what I’ll say for now.
I agree that it’s Macon the majority of the time but there have been games where Barford just took over. So basically both of them can be but Macon is usually. Beard is the Alpha if neither Macon or Barford are on the court.
Gafford is probably the most naturally gifted but I"m not sure he’s the most talented at this point… I think Macon and/or Barford are based on experience and natural ability. Gafford will be by the end of the year if not before.
Great question. I’ll say Barford because he’s tough and physical. When you need a tough basket, I feel like he’s the guy to go get it. No backing down from him - no matter the competition. I think just his physical presence puts him in alpha territory - plus (from the little I’ve seen) he seems to have quite a bit of charasima that pulls a team together. (One note in particular was I recall Khalil Garland commention something about about Barford encouraging/texting him everyday to stay positive - his chance would come. That’s leadership, IMO - that’s alpha)
I don’t think there is an alpha. I’ve noticed that there are times Macon has the ball, and Beard or Barford, or both are actually directing traffic (I actually saw Thomas do it in the last game). It’s the same with Barford and Beard, with Macon being off the ball directing traffic, I’ve even seen Gafford direct Bailey and Jones and vice versa.
If you are just considering having the ball in their hand as being the alpha, then I’d agree with Clay’s statement. If you consider the vocal portion, or being the floor general the alpha, then I believe we have at least three. JMO
The alpha dog. If we need a free throw it’s Macon. If we need a tough drive it’s Bardford. If we need a steal it’s Bardford or Beard. If we need a block it’s Gafford or Bailey.
C J Jones depends on the entire team to feed him the ball for open shots.
I like the idea of not having one alpha dog.
On any given night we could have 8 to 10 different players in double figures scoring.
The rebounding and free throws are my only concern for our hogs!
We have a few alpha dogs!!
Can the answer be “it depends”? Really it depends on who is hot at the time. Each guard is unselfish and recognizes when the other is “feeling it”. In late clock situations they do pick Macon to go out near mid-court and spread the floor for the last shot.
On the flip side last year when we made our run it coincided with Barford becoming more comfortable with the speed of the game. He became our defacto PG doing the lion share of the ball-handling and taking on the best opposing ball-handler (he still does).
Barford is playing at such a high level right now with his improved 3-pt shot.
Either Barford or Macon. Another way to ask this question is, who do you want handling the ball at the end of the game when you need a basket to win or tie?
With Macon, you’ve got a guy who can score from anywhere on the floor and can pass. He’s also as dependable as you can want at the free throw line. With Barford, he can get to the the rim almost any time he wants, can make tough shots (he seems to will the ball into the hoop) and can shoot the 3.
Macon and Barford are playing an all around game I didn’t expect. I also didn’t think Beard would be so dang solid. Beard has earned respect and that has created a 3 headed monster of leadership for this team. There is always a good chance of having one of these 3 on the floor with substitutions.
Another concern is who will be the man for next year? CJ Jones is obvious but who else?
Very hard to have more than one alpha dog. Having more than one thinking that’s their role can cause problems. Fortunately we seem to have two that fill that role in different ways. If the game gets physical and we need to respond, you can bet Barford will be the dog who bites the hardest. When the game is on the line and we have to score, Macon has proven that can either make that shot or get to the line. Once on the line, he’s money. Gafford is the big young dog who protects the junk yard. Beard may not be an alpha dog, but he’s a grizzled old ker who isn’t going to tuck his tail and run from a battle. Beard will also steal his share of bones.
Interesting to see this topic. It’s something I have mentioned here many times over the past few seasons - that Arkansas was increasing the overall talent level, but that what we really needed to emerge was the “Alpha” guards that our best teams ALWAYS had. In fact, when you thought of the Razorbacks at all during much of their earlier years under Sutton, who did you think of? Moncrief. Boot (Brewer Sr.). Delph (forward/guard). US Reed. Tony Brown. Darrell Walker. Alvin Robertson. We always had at least one of those types. Then, under Nolan, there was Day, Mayberry, Beck, Thurman (and, of course, Corliss).
When I first brought this up - may be 3 or 4 years ago - we really didn’t have anyone who fit that description. Oh, there might have been team leaders. But really no one who fit into that group listed above.
I disagree that there can only be on “alpha”. In fact, many of our good teams had more than one. If there is mutual respect, the “alphas” will recognize and lead as a group. Think about the Beatles - can anyone deny that both John Lennon and Paul McCartney are huge alphas? Sure, they had some minor disagreements - probably daily. But the overall result was fantastic.
Well, now we have more than one - which is what many really good Arkansas teams have had. I believe Macon and Barford both belong in that category. And, even though I’ve never been his biggest fan, I also believe that with maturity, Beard has that type of edge this season. I didn’t see it before, but he’s got a lot of confidence on both ends of the court this year.
I also believe that Gafford is quickly developing into that type of player in the front-court. In the prior threads about this subject, there was some debate about whether an “alpha” could be a big man. I contend that being an alpha is a mindset, and can belong to anyone on the court. Whether it’s coincidence, or just the case that more guards naturally gravitate to that personality type (like WR and CB’s in football), Arkansas has clearly had more in the back-court than front-court over the years. But I’ll take 'em wherever we can get 'em.
Since we’re on the subject, let’s expand it to past teams (not Heath and Pelphrey). Who were the alpha’s on Nolan and Sutton’s teams. Also, shouldn’t we also look at the defensive end. As an example, Alvin Robertson was an alpha on the defensive end for Eddie.
Beard doesn’t fit for an Alpha to me. Too often the offense stops while he holds the ball. Barford is my choice. Not afraid of big moments or shots. Macon is a solid 2nd choice. I think Dustin Thomas will have a few Alpha moments this season.
There have been some great alpha dogs in Arkansas basketball. A few:
Sidney Moncrief, Todd Day (although I’d also argue that it could have been Lee Mayberry), Corey Beck, Kareem Reid, Pookie Modica, Ronnie Brewer, Jr., Bobby Portis, Michael Qualls. I’m probably missing a few.
I do not include Joe Johnson in this list, although he was a GREAT player. I just never felt like he was an alpha dog that would take over with his mindset and physical presence. He was unbelievably talented.
I would say the alpha dog of all alpha dogs was Corey Beck.
I do think at the end of the game I want Macon holding the ball. Just a better foul shooter in that situation.
I agree that Joe Johnson does not have the personality of an alpha dog. He did take over games with his basketball. But I think you are referring to taking over the leadership role where your teammates listen to you and follow you.
However there is something about Joe. Hog fans find a way to eliminate him from most conversations. Being a Joe Johnson fan, that kind of hits home to me.