The Arrival Of Moses

Arkansas freshman big man Moses Kinglsey (6-10, 230) - whose Razorbacks (9-2) host High Point (3-7) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. - has blocked 16 shots in his last five games and also showed an improved offensive game that head coach Mike Anderson says will result in increased playing time.

As the Arkansas basketball team prepares to play its last game of 2013 - one in which they have a chance wrap up an 18-game unbeaten calendar year at Bud Walton Arena - perhaps the most exciting thing about the upcoming new year is the arrival of Moses.

Freshman center Moses Kingsley (6-10, 230) has made significant progress for the Razorbacks (9-2) in the last month and appears poised for a breakout 2014 as his team prepares to enter SEC action soon.

The Nigerian-born Kingsley is averaging 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in just an average of 10.3 minute per game off the bench while shooting 64 percent from the field and also getting to the free throw line 23 times.

He is also fourth in the SEC overall with 20 blocked shots - 16 of those coming in the last five games for Arkansas (9-2), who hosts High Point (3-7) in the Razorbacks' first game back from Christmas break.

"We've already seen his impact," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said Friday afternoon at his press conference. " What he does is contagious. You get a guy back there that's protecting the rim … but not only is he blocking shots, I think he's keeping them in play. He's going and getting rebounds out of his area. If he can't get it, he's knocking it out."

Kingsley, who played his senior season at Huntington (W.V.) Prep with Kansas freshman star Andrew Wiggins, has also shown off an improved offensive game as evidenced by his 12 points and 12 rebounds in a season-high 20 minutes against Tennessee-Martin.

"He's been a guy that's been able to come out and reverse the basketball," Anderson said. "He's a good passer. He has a good pair of hands and he's an energy guy. He's been giving us great, great energy. He's been going to the free-throw line and knocking free throws (15-of-23) down. Had his first career 3-point shot (Saturday night against South Alabama). Shot clock running down he had the presence to put it up. So it just seems like every single day this guy is really absorbing what it takes to be a very good player at this level."

Kingsley, a consensus top 50 high school player nationally last season, blocked 134 shots last season at Huntington Prep.

"And if you watch his playing time, his minutes are just going up and up," Anderson said. "But he's going to be very integral in what we're doing. It's no question about it. I can't say it enough, but his energy is contagious. Our guys feed off of it. that's a big plus when you've got a guy like that coming off the bench."

Razorback fans have been clamoring for Kingsley and fellow 6-10 freshman Bobby Portis - who joined together to lead the Arkansas Wings to an AAU national title in 2012 - to play at the same time.

They did so at the end of the Tennessee-Martin game and Anderson promises more of that is coming.

"In practice we're doing it more and more," Anderson said. "We're just seeing it more and more. And giving them opportunities. They've done it before. They played some AAU ball together. Obviously, this is a different level. And we'll see whether it be in a man, a zone.

"That's a long zone if you put a guy like that and we can get as tall as we want to with a bunch," Anderson added. "And I still think you have the versatility. So that's something that will take place and we'll see it."

Arkansas will be playing its first game in a week when High Point arrives for its Saturday night visit.

Anderson said you could tell his team took a few days off when it arrived back Wednesday night and went through practice after a few days off.

"You could imagine it was interesting," Anderson said. "A lot can take place in three or four days when you are used to a routine.  True to form our guys were a little sluggish starting off.  We kind of got on them real quick early on.  Since then we have had a couple of more practices.

"I think it was more starting to get their wind back and getting back into a rhythm of the things that we do and hopefully continue to play at a high level, pushing each other," Anderson said. "So we are  getting there."

High Point - coached by former North Carolina player Scott Cherry - is coming off a game at Syracuse in which it led 40-39 early in the second half before the Orange woke up rolled to a 75-54 win.

The Panthers are led by 6-8, 205-pound redshirt sophomore John Brown, who is averaging 18.7 points and 8.1 rebounds and teams up front with 6-9, 250-pound redshirt freshman center Cliff Cornish.

Brown is carrying more of the load since senior Allen Chaney (15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds) was forced to the sidelines after the first five games due to a heart ailment.

"Of course one of the better players in John Brown, a guy that is getting close to a double-double for them," Anderson said. "A really good basketball player.  After five games they lost one of their better players in Allen Chaney.  They are kind of finding themselves after losing him."

Arkansas will play High Point this Saturday and Texas-San Antonio the following Saturday before opening SEC action at Texas A&M on Jan. 8.

"It is very important for us to continue to go in the right direction," Anderson said. "…I want to see more guys continue playing at a higher level and be consistent in what we are doing. 

"…These games to me are more about us as we prepare to get better," Anderson added. "Let's see if we can go out and get better in what we do in terms of sharing the basketball and defending and playing with a sense of urgency.  That's what I want to see us play more so for a longer period of time and that is play with great, great urgency."

Moses Kingsley

Moses Kingsley

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