State of the Hogs: Dusty Hannahs

Dusty Hannahs loves the open concepts in the Arkansas offense. The Pulaski Academy product thinks of himself as more than a shooter and he loves coach Mike Anderson's willingness to allow his players to attack.

Dusty Hannahs has style beyond most college juniors. Anyone who checked out his attire on the Arkansas bench understands that statement.

That style and a little bit of personality came through as he spent a tough year as a redshirt on the basketball team after transferring from Texas Tech.

Hannahs, a Pulaski Academy product, rotated four blazers with some nifty slacks combinations, even donning suspenders and a bow tie for a game near the end of the season. Nevermind that he was clueless on how to put a knot on a bow tie, Hannahs got it done.

“I went into the media room and asked if anyone could help me,” he said. “There was one guy who could and we got it taken care of pretty fast.”

Hannahs did admit that there were plans to sport the suspender look minus jacket, but it didn’t happen.

“I chickened out,” Hannahs said.

There is no chicken in Dusty Hannahs when it comes to firing a 3-pointer. He’s a long-range bomber, but don’t label him just a shooter. He’s a dynamite ball handler and takes pride in his passing. UA coach Mike Anderson prefers not to put numbers on his players and that’s fine with Hannahs.

“I’m definitely not a four or a five,” the 6-3 Hannahs said. “I do think I can handle the ball and I think I’m a combo guard.”

It fits the style that Anderson prefers, an open system where anyone can initiate the offense.

“The way Coach Anderson wants to play, it’s about instincts,” Hannahs said. “He wants instincts to take over. I love it. I think it’s a system for good guard play. I think we will have good guards. I think we will have a very good team, too.

“Coach gives you the freedom to attack. It didn’t matter if it was Bobby (Portis) getting a rebound, he had the freedom to take the ball up and attack.

“I think I’d rather be looked at as a combo, rather than a two guard because of my ball handling. And I think the way we play is good for what I can do.”

No one questions his ability to shoot and there is a floater as well as a deadly 3-point shot. There have been a lot of shots launched in the last year while regaining his eligibility after the transfer.

“I try to get up 500 shots a day,” Hannahs said. “I usually try to see what I can get out of 100. Steph Curry got 94 of 100. My best is 89. I think the longest streak (of consecutive makes) is 40.

“But I don’t want to be known as just a shooter. I can make plays off the dribble. And, I can pass off the dribble. I think I’m an above average ball handler. I’m confident with the ball in my hands on the pick and roll. If the defense goes under the pick, I’m going to rise up and knock it down.”

That confidence may come from his father. There was never a more confident person than Gerald Hannahs, a tough, big lefty four-year pitcher for Norm DeBriyn at Arkansas. Hannahs pitched from in the major leagues with Montreal and Los Angeles from 1976-79.

“I do think my toughness came from my father,” Dusty said. “He worked me hard. I think I have his fire, too. It’s cool hearing someone tell me about my father as a player here for Coach DeBriyn. I’d love to see video of him. I’ve never seen any.”

There’s a story in Dusty’s name. Gerald was close to Dusty Baker with the Dodgers. Dad still talks to the former major league manager several times a month.

“We spent a lot of time together in spring training with the Dodgers and after I finally got called up we were inseparable,” Gerald said. “I’ve really enjoyed having my son around Dusty. They have a great time. There are times when we have been at Wrigley Field playing whiffle ball.”

It was thought that Dusty Hannahs could have been a good baseball player, perhaps a college prospect, but gave it up before his sophomore season. It’s almost impossible to play both sports with the way AAU basketball dominates summer these days.

“He was good and was going to be really good,” Gerald said. “I don’t see how you can do both if you are trying to become a Division I basketball player anymore. But he had a good arm, had good power and he has incredible eye-hand coordination, what it takes to become a good hitter. He could have done it.”

Dusty recalls the ordeal of telling his father that he was going to quit baseball.

“It was just too tough to go from a basketball game to a baseball game,” he said. “I was still real nervous about telling my dad.”

Gerald remembers it well.

“Like most boys, he tried to go through his mother,” Gerald said. “He wanted her to tell me. She worked on her a little bit. She wouldn’t do it. She gave me the heads up that something was coming.

“When he did, I just said, ‘That’s good.’ He was stunned. I knew he was working hard with basketball and that’s where he needed to spend his time. It made perfect sense, but he was still surprised. I saw it coming.”

There’s pride that Dusty is following in his footsteps at Arkansas, even if it’s not in baseball.

“Oh, when I got my scholarship to play for the Razorbacks in baseball, it was like I hit the lottery,” Gerald said. “And, to get to see Dusty play there, it’s a dream. To know the path that it took for him to play there, to start somewhere else, then to see him finally step on the court next year, that will be something.

“You know, I sold cokes for three years at War Memorial Stadium. I know the history of the program. Every kid grew up feeling what I felt, wanting to be a Razorback. For sure, in Little Rock, I felt that.”

Dusty said, “I was always a Razorback fan. My dad met mom here. So it’s in us. I just love the Razorbacks. And I’m excited to see what we can do next year.”

Dusty knows there are some that have doubts about next year’s team when they look at the departures of Portis, along with Michael Qualls, Ky Madden and Alandise Harris.

“Those are great players,” Dusty said. “Obviously, we hear things. But I don’t think anyone here is worried. We all are high major type players. We are playing at a great university in a great conference and we belong here. We are going to step up and we are all really confident.

“I think our (pickup) games right now are extremely competitive and there is talent out there. We are having great games. It’s two sets of five with very good players. We play the best of seven games and the first team to win four doesn’t let the other team live it down. I’ve never been in such competitive games.

“We want to win so bad and I think we will win. This is a great conference and we want to win it. I see the way things are going in this conference (with coaching changes at Mississippi State, Alabama and Tennessee) and it’s clear that it’s going to be very good. We are excited to be in the SEC and I think it’s going to be in basketball what it’s like in football right now.”

Dusty Hannahs is just glad that he’s going to be right in the middle of it, instead of trying to find someone to tie a bow tie to punctuate his stylish attire.

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