Commentary: Fun Year on Tap

Don Oglesby covers Arkansas practices on a regular basis for Hawgs Illustrated. He was pleased with what he saw in the Red-White game on Saturday.

I thought it was the best played intrasquad game in a while. The coaches had to be pretty well pleased — not perfect to be sure and enough to give them some things to work on, but by and large very good, especially the blending of the veterans and the new guys.

Even the free throw shooting was good. The only downer is what looks to be a fairly serious re-injury to Vincent Hunter's shoulder. Shoulder separations are a tough heal and when they pop out again that quickly it isn't good.

Here are some thoughts by position.

Point guard: The point guard play, IMO, was excellent, Dontell Jefferson and Eric Ferguson were both excellent. Ronnie Brewer really didn't play much point today. Jefferson showed a real scoring touch, but also ran the point well. Ferguson was a bear on defense and racked up 6 assists officially, including a couple of beauties. I thought he had eight. Both points made a couple of end-to-end sojourns for buckets.

Two-guard and small forward: Difficult to separate the two positions in our system and especially since nearly all the guys play both positions. But not unexpectedly there was a lot of fire power here with Brewer, Jonathon Modica and Michael Jones all over 20. Olu Famutimi was quiet for most of the game, though he did end up with eight or ten. His injured thumb may have slowed him down a bit. He lost the ball a couple times on drives to the basket... mostly Ferguson's work in snaking it loose I think.

Power forward: Both Charles Thomas and Rashard Sullivan had their moments, but they both are capable of more. At one point Rashard made four straight free throws. That's really good news as he will get fouled a lot and last year fouling Sullivan was like a turnover. Thomas showed his ability to move out on the court and knock down the three (two of them in fact). While he didn't score on any of his bull-like rushes he made a couple of good moves that ended in blocks from Steve and I think Mike Jones. If we lose Vincent for long that could hurt a bit because he has theability to come out on the court and pull his man out or go by him.

Center: Darian Townes scored well and both Townes and Steve Hill got several blocks apiece. Both showed at least one good post move for a score and both ran the court very well, Townes for a couple dunks and Steve for a couple blocks at the defensive end.

Problem areas? I guess you could say that the 41 percent shooting figure for both teams was a problem, but I saw it more as the excellent defense not giving many good looks and blocking numerous shots. Also walkon Sam Munsey struggled with his shot, though he didn't take many. There could be a tendency to foul, but that wasn't bad for a first game and our depth is so good that unless we lose Brewer or Modica we should be able to cover, though again if Hunter is lost for long that depletes the inside depth a bit. There were a couple of turnovers and bad decisions with the ball, but not many at all for a first outing.

Good to see: An inside game. It has been a while and four of the five big men are offensive threats and you can't go to sleep on Sullivan either or he will make you pay. And man, the fly swatting inside is going to be fun to see. It was nice to se Mike Jones taking the ball to the basket instead of always settling for the jumper. But along with Jefferson and Ferguson he is our best outside threat.

I think it's going to be a fun year.


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