Growing up it at all times felt like Memphis de facto Part of Arkansas if not de jure. In the halcyon days of the Arkansas, Memphis basketball program was a part of Arkansas. I used to be reminded of that in halftime of the Arkansas-Fordham recreation on Friday evening.
The SEC Network did an awesome job highlighting the work of the Musselmans, notably Danyelle Musselman, with the Northwest Arkansas Suits & Sneakers ’94 Gala. Proceeds from the gala will go to the American Cancer Society to help pediatric most cancers analysis, providers and consciousness, and childhood most cancers prevention efforts. With the choice to honor the 1994 nationwide championship group, Eric Musselman continues to embrace the legacy of the Nolan Richardson-era Hogs.
Several former Razorbacks have been current on the gala. It felt good to lookup and see Corey Beck flash throughout the display and pose for a photograph with Elmer Martin and Dwight Stewart from that iconic ’94 squad. Seeing the trio introduced again fond reminiscences of the Memphis-Arkansas pipeline from gamers throughout Arkansas basketball’s heyday.
While not a member of the 1994 championship group, Ron Huery ought to have been there as effectively. Unfortunately, Huery handed away in Memphis final Saturday.
In reminiscence of Ron Huery
As Matt Jones identified on this improbable WholeHogSports obituary, Huery struggled off the sector in school and after his enjoying days. I think like many people he was battling some private demons. All I can say about that’s I hope that once I peel off this mortal shell, I’ll be reminded of my greatest moments relatively than my worst, too quite a few to rely.
Over the years, it appears clear that Nolan Richardson actually cared about Huery. In the darkish corners of my thoughts, I bear in mind Richardson evaluating Huery to the nice Todd Day and Memphis State legend Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Huery was the primary of the three lean, 6-foot-7 slashers to come out of Memphis within the mid-’80s. I could not discover the precise quote, however to the impact that Day had the power to rating at will and Hardaway might rating or go at will, Huery’s major concern was to make his teammates higher.
Huery at all times struck me as a humble and unassuming man. His transient induction deal with to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame appeared to verify my suspicions:
Scott Cain wrote a play for the in 2005 Arkansas Democrat Gazette on the Memphis to Arkansas connection. He quotes Huery as saying, “I wasn’t that good in high school.” Huery went on to attribute his success to overworking and outsmarting opponents. It must be famous that Huery was Richardson’s first signee, who was a McDonald’s All-American and a Parade All-American. He was superb on the college. In the identical article, Day mentioned of the success of the Arkansas basketball program, “None of this would have happened without Ron.”
Thoughts on Arkansas’ win over Fordham
As for the precise basketball recreation, I’ve a couple of ideas. In no explicit order:
This 12 months’s group might go down in historical past because the Arkansas group with the very best reel dunks of all time. Anthony Black threw his hat within the struggle for dunk of the sport halfway by way of the primary half, solely to lose to Ricky Council IV’s cup-the-ball, one-handed tomahawk slam within the second half. It must be famous that even if Council threw a lob go to Trevon Brazile for a two-hand slam by which Brazile hit his elbow on the rim, there isn’t any doubt that Council wins. Again, Brazile’s elbow-on-rim dunk was solely the second greatest dunk of the evening. Things are wanting up for this 12 months’s spotlight reel.
At least seven guys on the group are short-term skilled prospects. I used to be involved earlier than the season that there is likely to be an issue dividing the ball between the gamers’ excessive private ambitions and their youth. However, there are not any black holes on this group. The turnovers have been largely due to making an attempt too arduous to make further passes. At most three or 4 missed pictures by the group.
In a means, I’m beginning to suppose Nick Smith Jr.’s harm might assist this group in the long term. Jordan Walsh will get an opportunity to focus extra on offense than if Smith have been enjoying. He made all 5 pictures inside the three-point line — two off-balance drives to the basket, a really clean-looking pull-up jumper within the lane, a chippy financial institution shot, and a two-handed dunk. He’s a uncommon participant who I want would search for his shot much more. It additionally appeared a superb signal that when Pinion scored a layup on the finish of the sport, Walsh jumped up and down and cheered. Always a superb signal when the blokes on the bench are genuinely joyful for his or her teammates. Kamani Johnson was nice at it final 12 months.
Musselman likes to run certainly one of his massive boys in the direction of the opponent’s main ball handler on the high of the important thing in half-court units. This forces the opposing group to begin their motion farther from the basket and robs the shot clock of time. Occasionally the opposite group additionally spits out a turnover. All of that is nice in concept. The identical massive man should dive again down instantly to keep away from making mild dots within the paint. It requires a not often lengthy, quick, and agile massive to carry out this job appropriately. Luckily, Brazile appears to have been created in some type of laboratory to fill this function.
Arkansas blew up Fordham within the second half when Musselman kicked out his all-stretch lineup: Makhi Mitchell, Brazile, Walsh, Council and Black. It appears doubtless that a few of Fordham’s gamers will get up in the course of the evening in a sweat after having nightmares about enjoying this line-up. It was in all probability unfair to the Atlantic 10 group. Was that the lineup Musselman’s dad had in thoughts when he advised his son to line up your 5 longest, hardest guys on the market? Possibly.
Possible issues for Arkansas basketball
So what was there to dislike in regards to the recreation aside from the first-half turnovers?
Well, the three level capturing. But it is at all times darkest simply earlier than daybreak. Black made his first 3-pointer of the season and had one other that was half down. I believe in equity he must be partially credited for that shot which might have made him 1.5 out of 6 from past the arc. Teams will clearly play towards Black till he could make them pay later within the season.
Walsh continues to get good clear seems to be from 3’s. Unfortunately, he continues to miss these good clear seems to be from 3’s. I anticipate Walsh will probably be spending lots of time in apply working on nook 3’s. And let me get one factor straight, I believe he’ll be giving his fair proportion of that good clear look by the top of the season.
Brazile, Vomte Davis and Council seem to have been streaky all season. Streakiness may end up in a mixed 1 for 8, as was the case towards Fordham. Aside from a Council 3 from the highest of the important thing early within the shot clock and one or two from Davis, it wasn’t dangerous pictures.
Aside from the chilly begin and the horrible finish of the primary half, I did not discover a lot else to complain about. The Fordham gamers appeared to be speaking rather a lot for a group that was struggling to play the ball on the sting of one another. Council and Davis, amongst others, responded effectively. Brazil not. He was clearly pissed off with Fordham gamers tweeting a number of instances. Late within the first half he obtained a technical foul for a pointless chest kick at a Fordham participant after dunking on the child. This led to a horrible finish to the primary half, permitting Fordham to go to the dressing room with a surge.
What to make of it? Arkansas blasted the gates of a group with out their arguably greatest participant. So that appears to be a superb signal. On the opposite hand, Fordham had a coach in his freshman 12 months and completed eighth within the Atlantic 10 final 12 months. I assumed these two information have been associated, however I used to be mistaken. Fordham’s former coach, Kyle Neptune, left to take over Villanova. The Razorbacks in all probability had the highest 5 massive males of the 2 groups – truly six when you rely Walsh among the many massive ones.
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