Adding Toughness

Proud of what his three November signees got accomplished their senior seasons, Razorback hoops coach now plans to add some size and toughness to the Arkansas roster with a pair of spring signees.

He's thrilled about his three early signees, but Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson knows exactly what he wants out of two spring ones.

The late signing period runs April 11 to May 16.

"We've got to continue to recruit guys with character," Anderson said. "Obviously, you want talented players, but you've got to have some character, and we've got to get some toughness. I think that's something that we lacked, especially going down the stretch.

"Some things you don't teach, you've got to recruit it," Anderson added. "And so with that being said, we've got to get some size to go with this group and just continue to improve the level of players that we want to bring in, and guys that fit what we're doing. i think it makes a difference when guys are recruited to play a certain way or a style of basketball. I like instinctive guys, I like aggressive guys."

Anderson is excited about what the Razorbacks' November signees – 6-8, 190-pound Birmingham (AL) Central Park small forward Jacorey Williams, 6-5, 200-pound Shreveport (LA) Huntington swingman Michael Qualls and 6-4, 180-pound Memphis (TN) Bartlett shooting guard Anthlon Bell – will bring to his program.

The trio led their teams to a combined 84-12 this season.

I think you're going to see some guys that first of all, they're winners," Anderson said. "They're from winning programs. All of them were close to winning their state championship ... At the same time, those guys are athletic, they're coming for a specific need.

"You talk about a guy like JaCorey Williams, he's a long, athletic kid that's skilled," Anderson noted. "He brings an element to our basketball program that we don't have. Anthlon Bell, a guy that can really shoot the basketball. A 6-3 guard from the Memphis area ... He brings a guy that can knock shots down and has a good basketball IQ.

"... Michael Qualls had a tremendous senior year," Anderson continued. "He's an athletic, big guard/forward that can make plays. He has a motor. ... That's the thing I like about these guys, they come in with the understand of what is going to be needed on this team. I just think they bring some different elements to our basketball team."

Anderson was at the National Junior College Tournament on Wednesday watching some potential future Razorbacks and was hitting the recruiting trail again after Thursday's press conference.

"We signed three early and we still have two scholarships available, so we'll continue to recruit," Anderson said. " It may not even stop there. But as of right now we're just trying to target in on some guys that we feel can come and help our basketball program."

Anderson will have individual meetings with his players next week, but said he does anticipate everyone coming back for next season. He just wants to hedge his bets in case.

"That's going to be part of the evaluation process," Anderson said. "We'll get a chance to sit down and visit with our guys and find our where we are ... But we're full ahead in terms of recruiting and trying to get some more pieces."


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