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Author Topic: Our Current Struggles  (Read 487 times)

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The_Iceman

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Our Current Struggles
« on: January 13, 2019, 10:18:49 am »

The current state of the roster of poor outcomes can be traced back to the poor offseason of 2015. Regardless of it being Mike's fault, or a case of back luck, it set this program back. We had just come off of Mike's best season, led by All-SEC Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls. It was a veteran team, that unfortunately, got put against UNC in the 2nd round. Mike's plan looked good. We signed 4-star 6'3" guard Jimmy Whitt and 6'8" 4-star forward Ted Kapita to replace Portis and Madden. Mike's roster should have looked something like this:

PG: Durham / Babb OR Beard
SG: Hannahs / Bell
SF: Qualls / Whitt / Watkins
PF: Williams / Kapita / Miles
C: Kingsley / Thompson

Instead, everything that could go wrong...did. Babb transferred and has averaged 11pts, 6rebs, 6asts in his last two years at Iowa State. Babb and Whitt (currently 13pts, 7rebs, 4asts, 2stls per game at SMU) would have given Mike two solid 6'3"-6'4" guards that would have been here 4 years in his system that could fill up a stat sheet. Jacorey Williams and Beard were arrested, leading to Jacorey transferring to Middle Tennessee State, where he was player of the year putting up 17pts and 7rebs per game. I believe we would have seen Kinglsey and Williams both take big leaps together in 2015 in our front court. Kapita (per 40 averages of 14pts and 11rebs in his 1 year at NCstate) never made it to campus due to eligibility issues, which cost us a least a 3 year player that would have replaced Portis nicely (very similar to Reggie Chaney).

And the big one, Michael Qualls going pro. I believe on that roster, Michael Qualls would have been first team All-SEC and in contention for player of the year. I believe a roster close to the one listed above would have resulted in another NCAA Appearance. However, that's not what happened. Not only did we miss out on in-state 4-star Kevaughn Allen, but we lost every single recruit in the 2015 class by the start of the next year.

To his credit, Mike did what he had to do to recover. Mike went out and filled his roster with JUCO's and transfers. We added Barford, Macon, Cook, and Dustin Thomas to the 2017 roster, and made it to the NCAA Tournament. Mike also had another great opportunity to build on the successful 2017 year with the 2018 recruiting class. Mike signed 4 solid in state players with Top 50 immediate contributors in Gafford and Garland, promising 4-star prospect in 6'6" Darious Hall, and athletic 6'8" bench project Gabe Osabuohien. Bad misfortune hit Mike again, as Garland was never cleared to play. I believe Garland would have contributed at a level close to what we are seeing from Gafford. Then, Darious Hall transferred out as well, for reasons mentioned already on this board. All this, led to us having the current roster of mostly first year players with little SEC playing experience.

So the poor 2015 offseason was the first big setback for Mike. Then, the misfortune of losing a Top 50 guard like Garland and promising prospect in Darious Hall in 2018 piled on to those struggles right when we could have had 3 solid sophomores (Gafford, Hall, and Garland) in place to pick up the slack from the departing 2018 seniors. You can call all of this Mike's fault and he should be held accountable, you can says he shouldn't be blamed for any of it and be given a lifelong contract, or you can be somewhere in between. While you know my stance, I just wanted to present the facts of what has happened in Mike's tenure and let the discussion go from there.

BannerMountainMan

Re: Our Current Struggles
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2019, 10:23:35 am »

Mike has had some horrible luck.

1st year- Powell season ending injury
2014- Young leaves early for some reason
2015- Qualls leaves early when Mike and everybody thought he was coming back, Williams gets in trouble and has to leave, Portis was 50/50 on going to the draft
2016-Kapita doesn’t make the grades
2017- Garland medical issues
2018- Hall has school issues, Phillips injury, Embery injury

Mike has to overcome it, but tough luck
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swineology

Re: Our Current Struggles
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2019, 10:44:54 am »

All very valid points Ice.

With that being said the game has passed Mike by. We have terrible spacing, we miss switches on defense, we give up too many open looks and our shot selection is terrible. FT shooting is abysmal and the press isn't wearing teams out late in games. I get it, it's a young team but these same problems gave occurred during Mike's tenure here.


I'm old and remember Sutton in Barnhill and Nolan in the 90's. I also remember the depths that Heath and Failphrey took us to.

Mike has done a great job with the APR but seems like he's hit his ceiling.


I long for Razorback basketball to be relevant again and just don't see Mike getting us there again.
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Smithian

Re: Our Current Struggles
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2019, 10:48:55 am »

The current state of the roster of poor outcomes can be traced back to the poor offseason of 2015. Regardless of it being Mike's fault, or a case of back luck, it set this program back. We had just come off of Mike's best season, led by All-SEC Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls. It was a veteran team, that unfortunately, got put against UNC in the 2nd round. Mike's plan looked good. We signed 4-star 6'3" guard Jimmy Whitt and 6'8" 4-star forward Ted Kapita to replace Portis and Madden. Mike's roster should have looked something like this:
I still think the original sin of poor roster construction was Anderson's very first offseason. Arkansas had a solid core returning, and a pretty good recruiting class coming in. Before anyone dismisses that group, no one on this board seriously expected less than a healthy tournament seed. That should have been the group that set the program for years.

Instead, there was a talent exodus. It was an open secret Aaron Ross wouldn't qualify. Rotnei Clarke was shown the door and then Glenn Bryant and Jeff Petersen also headed for the experts. You were suddenly down a pretty solid recruit, two role players, and a gifted shooter who had already scored 1,300 points through his junior season.

The incoming staff, which had been just across the border, and should have been in tune with local JUCOs and transfers, added no one. Zero. Nilch. That 11/12 team was short on talent before Powell was injured, and had to drag in Brandon Mitchell just as a warm body.

Then the coaching staff held open scholarships open the next couple years. The team never was built out around Bobby Portis, and then collapsed after he left. They went, found some JUCOs and transfers, and built a couple good teams around Kingsley and Gafford.

I want to believe, but after these past few weeks I do not see it. Portis, Kingsley, and Gafford are all special bigs who took a roster built on JUCOs and transfers and made it work. When looking at next season, I don't see the next Dusty Hannahs or Jaylen Barford knocking down the door, nor do I see another NBA ready big man dying to be a Razorback.

I trust Anderson as a game day coach. I think he develops players. But the recruiting is a disaster. When we watched those teams at Mizzou they seemed deep and talented. We need one of the Missouri trolls to jump on here and shed some light on what we may have missed.

Here is to hoping that thew guys on roster will recover after an awful few weeks and dig deep and finish this season strong.
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The_Iceman

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Re: Our Current Struggles
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2019, 10:51:35 am »

All very valid points Ice.

With that being said the game has passed Mike by. We have terrible spacing, we miss switches on defense, we give up too many open looks and our shot selection is terrible. FT shooting is abysmal and the press isn't wearing teams out late in games. I get it, it's a young team but these same problems gave occurred during Mike's tenure here.


I'm old and remember Sutton in Barnhill and Nolan in the 90's. I also remember the depths that Heath and Failphrey took us to.

Mike has done a great job with the APR but seems like he's hit his ceiling.


I long for Razorback basketball to be relevant again and just don't see Mike getting us there again.

If Mike is going to play the style he does, he has to either get elite talent, or get players to stay 4 years and develop. Sadly, he has done enough of either.

What hurts Mike is that his system requires 9 to 10 deep. It also takes about a year to get used to. In an age where players want to play and contribute right away, and transferring is much more common, Mike has a player retention problem. Also, the full court pressing system just isn't as effective anymore with all the timeouts and the strict hand checking rules. Playing a tough, disciplined half court defense fits the way the game is being called today.

Letsroll1200

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Re: Our Current Struggles
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2019, 11:43:57 am »

If Mike is going to play the style he does, he has to either get elite talent, or get players to stay 4 years and develop. Sadly, he has done enough of either.

What hurts Mike is that his system requires 9 to 10 deep. It also takes about a year to get used to. In an age where players want to play and contribute right away, and transferring is much more common, Mike has a player retention problem. Also, the full court pressing system just isn't as effective anymore with all the timeouts and the strict hand checking rules. Playing a tough, disciplined half court defense fits the way the game is being called today.

People are saying that the pressing style doesn't work. However, maybe I missed it but I haven't seen Arkansas use the press primarily in the last 3 games.

We've caught some bad breaks with Qualls and Jacorey situation in 2015. You just couldn't predict that Garland wouldn't be able to play at all. Also Mike and his staff simply signed some players that aren't high D1 players. I think Arkansas offered Henderson, Sills and Joe because they was trying to get Perry. Henderson never showed in high school that he was a program changer. It comes with the program because Mike isn't with the funny business, he'll take a project player hoping they might hit. It worked with Qualls. Unfortunately it hasn't worked with CJ Jones, Bailey, Gabe and Henderson.
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Smithian

Re: Our Current Struggles
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2019, 12:05:37 pm »

It isn't like Arkansas is all press, all the time. Even Nolan occasionally bailed out out of the press situationally.

Rule changes have made the ole style harder, but Arkansas still is more aggressive than most at trapping and swiping both in full and halfcourt. I personally think it is fun to watch.

The_Iceman

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Re: Our Current Struggles
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2019, 12:33:57 pm »

People are saying that the pressing style doesn't work. However, maybe I missed it but I haven't seen Arkansas use the press primarily in the last 3 games.

We've caught some bad breaks with Qualls and Jacorey situation in 2015. You just couldn't predict that Garland wouldn't be able to play at all. Also Mike and his staff simply signed some players that aren't high D1 players. I think Arkansas offered Henderson, Sills and Joe because they was trying to get Perry. Henderson never showed in high school that he was a program changer. It comes with the program because Mike isn't with the funny business, he'll take a project player hoping they might hit. It worked with Qualls. Unfortunately it hasn't worked with CJ Jones, Bailey, Gabe and Henderson.

I dont agree with the part on Henderson. If he is in fact a project, then you cant just whether he has worked out or not by his first year. The point of a project player is you hope for some contribution by their sophomore year, then more significant contribution by their junior and senior years.
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