New Players (rankings from PrepStars)
|Dontell Jefferson||6-6||JUCO||Best of the Rest in PS|
|Maurice Hargrow||6-5||Jr||transfer from Minnesota|
Modica (6-4) and Brewer (6-6, right, AP photo by Jason Getz) will start on the wings and may be the two leading scorers. Ferguson (6-1) isn't the most adept point guard around, but figures to start there again, unless Dontell Jefferson is able to push him aside. There will be considerable competition for the other spots, between Famutimi (6-5), Hunter (6-10), Hill, Thomas, and Townes. Hargrow, who scored 13.2 ppg for Minnesota as a sophomore, becomes eligible in December and could become the sixth man or edge into the starting lineup. Matt Jones (6-6) is a football player who gets a late start each season, but can play. All of the others will have to scrounge for playing time.
Modica can hit from the outside or go to the basket. Brewer gets most of his points from well inside the three-point line. Ferguson, Hargrow, and Michael Jones can shoot from the outside, but Famutimi didn't show much ability to make the trey last year. Inside, Thomas seems like the best bet to become a threat.
Rebounding and Defense
Coach Stan Heath took great pains to address the rebounding problems that have beset the Razorbacks for the past several years. His best recruit was 6-10, 265 lbs Al Jefferson, but he entered the NBA draft and was selected high in the first round. Even without him, the addition of Thomas, Townes, and Hill should help the rebounding and basket-defense situations greatly. Ferguson is the team's best returning defender, another reason that he is likely to stay in the starting lineup. Hargrow had the reputation of being the best defender at Minnesota before transferring.
Playmaking is a concern. Making the new big men mesh with the veterans on the wings and at the point is another. More consistent outside shooting is needed, especially since the two best percentage outside shooters from last year (Pharis and Tatum) are gone. Famutimi was a highly-rated recruit who hasn't yet lived up to his reputation.
Overall Prospects for 2004-05
Clearly Arkansas has some depth and some options, luxuries not present at Mississippi and Auburn. There is reasonable experience, especially in the persons of two-year starters Modica and Ferguson. There is no doubt that Arkansas should be a better team than last year, and if the pieces come together, the Razorbacks might climb as high as third in the West. However, they will have a hard time getting past LSU and are likely to have to settle for a fourth-place finish.