Jason Ivester

Hannahs, Hogs Ready To Challenge Texas Tech

Former Texas Tech player Dusty Hannahs is now the leading scorer for Arkansas (10-10) and will get to face his old team Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. as the Red Raiders (12-7) visit Bud Walton for a 3 p.m. game that will be televised by ESPNU.

It will be a different Dusty Hannahs that Texas Tech (12-6) will see when it comes in to play Arkansas (10-10) Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. for one of the games in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Hannahs, the former Pulaski Academy star, played two years for the Red Raiders before transferring to Arkansas and sitting out last season.

“I’ll have to admit that when I saw that on the schedule, I smiled and thought that was pretty cool,” Hannahs said. “I have nothing bad to say about Texas Tech and enjoyed my time there.

“It just was that I always wanted to play for Arkansas and when I saw there was a chance, I knew it was the right thing to do. It’s home and its living out a dream.”

After averaging just 7.7 points and 22 minutes a game as a sophomore at Texas Tech, he is leading the Razorbacks with a 16.7 point average this season and shown that his game has advanced far more than just being a 3-point specialist.

“The year that I set out was so beneficial for me as I put in a lot of work on all parts of my game so that when I was able to hit the floor for real again that I would be as prepared as I possibly could be to make an impact,” Hannahs said.

Hannahs is part of the only trio in college basketball averaging over 16 points along with Moses Kingsley (16.6) and Anthlon Bell (16.5).

He is shooting 46.4 percent (52-of-112) from 3-point range, hit 8 in one game this season and is also connecting on 86.3 percent (63-of-73) from the free throw line.

"The opportunity has presented itself, and he's taken the ball and run with it," Anderson said. "He's bringing a lot to the table for this basketball team."

Former Kentucky and current Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith coached Hannahs as a sophomore after the player originally signed with former Red Raiders head coach Billy Clyde Gillispie, but never actually played for him.

“I'm not going to talk about that (the transfer),” Smith said. “I thought he did a fantastic job for us. He's a hard-working kid. He just wanted to get closer to home I guess. That's probably what it was.”

Hannahs still has a lot of love for Gillispie.

“I just had a connection with Coach Gillispie,” Hannahs said. “I still think him to this day for getting me to this level of this high major to be able to transfer to get back home.

“It started with him, so I am really thankful for that. God willing, I will get back to my home….

Hannahs knew that Arkansas had some scholarships available and remembers the day that he got a call from Razorback assistant Melvin Watkins.

"When I saw there was a call from Melvin Watkins, I was hoping it was what I thought it was,” Hannahs said. “I still had his name stored in my phone. 

“It was another week until they made an offer. I gave an immediate yes. I remember it like it was yesterday."

Anderson recruited Hannahs, but did not offer him during the early signing period. 

"We followed Dusty, no question about it," Anderson said. "He made a commitment early on to go to Texas Tech and we had some guys already here in place, but since that time he's really come on in terms of being a player.

"Sometimes those experiences that you have going away can help you. It didn't work out to his liking, and he wanted to come back this way, and the timing couldn't have been any better."

Hannahs will get a chance to see a fellow former Arkansas prep star in Aaron Ross, who played at Little Rock Parkview and signed with the Razorbacks but was not academically eligible and ended up at Texas Tech after a prep school year.

Ross, a 6-8, 225-pound redshirt junior, suffered a pair of knee injuries that has hampered his college career.

“He’s just getting into basketball form, but he's playing well for us at this juncture,” Smith said. “He's really an outstanding shooter and outstanding scorer. He has good days and bad days. 

“When you have two knee surgeries, you're going to have some problems. So he's icing them every day. 

Ross is averaging 8.1 points and 3.7 points this season in 18 minutes a game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 84.6 percent from the free throw line.

“He's making 90 percent of his free throws,” Smith said. “He's really rebounding the ball well. He's done a lot of things well. He's always been a very intelligent player. He understands the game well. He can stretch the defense with his outside shooting.”

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