LITTLE ROCK - Two former Razorbacks got a chance to coach two future ones Thursday night in the fourth annual Mike Conley, Jr. Classic All-Star game and came away impressed.
Former Little Rock Parkview star Daryl Macon (6-4, 180) had 35 points and fellow Arkansas 2016 signee Adrio Bailey (6-7, 205) added 23 in Team Arkansas’ 147-142 double overtime loss to Team Tennessee in a game played at Little Rock Hall.
“Oh man, I thought this was Bud Walton (Arena) for a minute,” Bailey said of the Razorbacks on hand. “It was exhilarating just seeing all of the people and knowing this is where I want to be next year. It’s a great feeling.”
The future Razorbacks were coached by the former Arkansas backcourt of Pat Bradley and Kareem Reid.
Macon did not have a great shooting night, but still poured in the points while knocking down six 3-pointers and hitting a variety of different shots.
“With Daryl, we know what Daryl can do, but I think he felt so much pressure in front of his hometown crowd to do as much as he could,” Bradley said.
“Those guys can go. Daryl reminds me of (former Razorback) Scotty Thurman, not just how he walks, but he is thoughtful. Scotty is one of those guys that is thoughtful and can figure things out, figure people out really fast.”
“It was great for them to get back and everyone just see the talent that we have coming. Those dudes are impressive.”
Macon was happy to be playing in his hometown after spending the last two seasons at Holmes, Miss., Community College, garnering junior college All-American honors and averaging 23.9 points, 3.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds as a sophomore.
“I enjoyed it, first time in two years, playing in front of my mom and she had not seen me play in about a year,” Macon said. “It was exciting and I just wanted to put on a show for the fans. Not make it too competitive, but it can get that way.
“I really didn’t want to go out here and get hurt. I just wanted to give back. I haven’t been in Little Rock and played in front of these people in a long time. It was something special.”
Arkansas signee Jaylon Barford (6-5, 210) and Arlando Cook (6-9, 215) were unable to make it, but will join Macon, Bailey, Alabama high school star C.J. Jones (6-5, 180) and Colorado transfer Dustin Thomas (6-7, 225) as new faces on the Razorback roster next season.
The Razorbacks are coming off a 16-16 season after being 27-9 under head coach Mike Anderson the previous season and playing in the NCAA Tournament.
“We have got a special group coming in,” Macon said. “I really think a lot of people are sleeping on the group because we have got a lot of jucos so they can’t really rate our junior college class.
“I feel like everybody is worrying about Coach A being on the hot seat. He’s good. People need to do their homework.”
Bailey believes the team will be hungry to get back to the Big Dance.
“Just come out ready to work and (be) willing to win, which I know we all have on our mind knowing we didn’t make the tournament this past year,” Bailey said. “So we’re all going to have it on our mind for next year.”
Bradley had seen Macon play back in high school, but was getting his first look at Bailey, who averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game this season for Campti, La., Lakeview.
“I had not had a chance to see Bailey, but I love him,” Bradley said. “I mean who takes a charge in an all-star game? Somebody said he kind of reminds him of Ali Thompson, who I played with, but he is 6-7.
“This kid has a nice form on his jump shot, bends his knees, handles it well and has a great attitude - which has probably stuck out to me more than anything.
“He is attentive. A lot of times these kids are looking into the crowd in these games, but he is ready, he is listening and he goes hard. That is the most impressive thing.
“He has got springs and I didn’t realize that. What I like about him just by looking at him is his legs and his calves are thick. I am not going to say they are defensive end thick, but they are lot thicker for a 6-7 guy that can run and jump like he can. That’s durability right there.
“His form looks like he was a natural. He wasn’t stressing and he was one of the only guys that we had that was committed to defensive rebounding and committed to defense. Coach A has got a good one there.”
Team Arkansas led 78-69 at half, the game was tied at 124-124 at the end of regulation and 133-133 headed into the second extra stanza.
Wofford signee Nathan Hoover had 36 points for Team Tennessee with two of his 10 3-pointers coming in the second overtime to put the game away.
“When I looked up and thought we had a chance to win,” Bailey said, “I was like ‘OK I’m really going to buckle down and play defense and stop playing around like it’s an All Star game and look at it like it’s a real game so I started playing actual defense.’”
Shawn Williams had 26 points for Team Arkansas while UALR signee Andre Jones had 18, Robert Glasper 15, Tulsa signee Lawson Korita and Rashwan Langston 9 each, Minnesota signee Eric Curry 8 and Tyrik Dixon 3.
Macon liked what he saw of Bailey in his first look.
“Adrio, he’s special, he’s blessed,” Macon said. “If he keeps working, he can do whatever he wants.”
Bailey returned the favor to Macon.
“NBA get ready for him,” Bailey said. “NBA get ready for him because you all are going to be getting ready for him.”