This Arkansas basketball team is treading water — where is the future?

Feb 09, 2018
  • By Eric Bolin
  • SEC Country

SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at ericwbolin@gmail.com.

Question of the Day: Friday, Feb. 9, 2018

I really don’t know where they go from here. They can’t play on the road and this has been a problem for some time, not just this year.

They start 4 seniors and one maybe hall of fame freshman. He started out killer and now acts like there are too many women in his life and basketball has fallen to second or third place. Where are the ‘next year’ players getting any experience? I don’t even know who they are. I continue to be surprised at the caliber of players Anderson keeps coming up with, but these guys seem to me have been playing forever. Beard, I think, just tries to do too much and the only down to it all is they all seem to get tired out, out of shape. Bring back the 40 minutes of hell that once was Hog basketball and other teams have copied. I’m as lost as the guy thinks Beard is!

VF

Copied and pasted from an email received earlier this week. The email is loaded with points. Some of those points many agree with. Some of the those points no one agrees with. This piece, however, doesn’t answer for everyone. It answers for this writer.

Truth of it is, I don’t know, either, where they (being the Arkansas basketball team) go from here. Likely they will continue .500 play. Give or take. VF is right, too, in that Arkansas can’t play on the road … this year. They’re just 1-6 away from friendly confines in 2017-18. That’s the worst winning percentage in all of the SEC and has, without a doubt, contributed to the team’s current status as being on the bubble. However, it has not been a problem in the past and we have written about that before.

Daniel Gafford, the freshman mentioned above, did have a phenomenal start to his career. Even at the beginning of league play he was averaging 13.1 points per game. The last five games, though, Gafford is only scoring at a 6.2 PPG clip. The suggestion he isn’t taking basketball as seriously as he once was is ludicrous to the point of almost being offensive. It isn’t uncommon for players, especially freshmen (never mind freshmen from small high schools who dominated competition at that level) to hit a wall. College games are longer and more physical than those in high school. The body isn’t used to it over time.

The next-year players getting experience are Darious Hall, Adrio Bailey and CJ Jones. They may not be the stars of this Arkansas team — and if you want to say they’re not going to be the stars next year either given their of production this year, that’s fine — but they are playing regular or semi-regular minutes.

It’s also incorrect that Arkansas is out of shape. They do practically everything aggressively. In fact, I’d argue they’re too aggressive. They’re in such good shape they have the energy to overplay sometimes when they’d be better off slowing it down.

This is the Question of the Day for a reason. Similar thoughts have been echoed by fans worried about Mike Anderson and where Arkansas basketball is headed. Most are not valid. Some are. Like everything else, the truth lies in the middle.

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