The Auditions Continue

Arkansas will host Christian Brothers Tuesday night at Bud Walton Arena in its last tune-up before the regular season starts as new Razorback head coach Mike Anderson continues to scout out talent for his new college basketball production.

It's not Hollywood, but Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson is holding open auditions for this new production of "40 Minutes of Hell -The Sequel," which is set to open its run Friday night at Bud Walton Arena.

The next casting call will be Tuesday night at 7 p.m. when the Razorbacks finish up their two-game exhibition slate with Memphis-based Christian Brothers University.

"We are still a work in progress." Anderson said. "…We are still trying to figure out our identity, the guys who are going to be those guys we can count on, who are going to be the vocal guys. That is what these games are for so we can find out who is going to step up. It is kind of like auditioning."

Arkansas sophomore guard Mardracus Wade (6-2) fwas certainly one who auditioned well on Friday night when he scored 20 points in the Razorbacks' 97-80 exhibition in over Texas A&M-Commerce.

Wade did not miss a shot, going 6-of-6 from the field (including 3-of-3 from 3-point range) and hit all five of his free throws.

"Me and Ky (Rashad Madden) have been staying after practice and getting up shots and I think it is working," Wade said. "We have been working on it (his shot) all summer and I think it is starting to pay off. We just have to keep on working. We are not the best jump shooters, but if we are going to help our team, we have got to knock down some shots."

Wade, whose team will open its regular season against visiting USC-Upstate on Friday night, was one of those who looked good in the first audition and also someone holding his team accountable for its play.

"I think in the first game we had some pluses and we had some minuses, but definitely we had more minuses than we had pluses," Wade said. "We have got to go back and work on some things…We have to stop, put our foot down and be more aggressive, get better on the defensive rebounding part."

Arkansas will hope to get more from forwards Marshawn Powell – who was foul plagued - and Marvell Waithe in Tuesday night's game than they did last Friday.

After combining for 66 points and 20 points in the Red-White game, Powell and Waithe had just 8 points and 5 rebounds combined in exhibition opener.

"I think he got a little tentative and was trying not to foul and just like anything when you are not trying to do something, you usually end up doing it anyway," Anderson said. "We know he is better than that. In practice, he has been playing pretty good."

Christian Brothers is a Division II school that will play Arkansas and Memphis is exhibition games before opening its season with home games against Arkansas schools Williams Baptist and Harding.

The Bucs, who finished 17-10 last season, also play UCA and Arkansas Tech in the non-conference schedule.

They have two Arkansas players on this season's roster in junior starter Michael Drake (6-6, 210) of Little Rock Catholic and redshirt sophomore Austin Johnson (6-6, 210) of Cabot.

Arkansas will be trying to be more physical and more up-tempo than it was in last Friday's win.

"I think we will be a little more aggressive on the boards, I think we are going to get up and down a little faster," Wade said. "We had a little up tempo in spurts, but we didn't get up and down like Coach A wanted us to."

Anderson concurred that he wanted to see the ball move up and down the floor at a quicker pace.

‘"I didn't think we had a real up-tempo pace in the first half, but it was better in the second half," Anderson said. "Those guys were getting the ball to the baseline real fast. We want a good team that is going to share the basketball and get it up and down the court quickly."


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