Open in App
All Hogs

Hog Fans OK with Letting Top In-State Recruits Leave

By Kent Smith,

2023-03-29

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0Km7pZ_0lZx1zdl00

Chances look dim with another 5-star central Arkansas basketball star, yet Razorback fans trust Muss so much they probably won't even flinch

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It looks highly possible that Arkansas coach Eric Musselman could find himself on the outside looking in once again with another central Arkansas elite recruit.

When 5-star center Kel-el Ware shunned the Razorbacks for Oregon last season, it raised a few eyebrows. However, the success of the overall recruiting class from a rankings standpoint smoothed over what would have been a borderline unforgivable sin prior to Musselman's arrival.

However, with the state's top recruit, Annor Boateng of Little Rock Central, entering the prime recruiting stretch for the Class of 2024 with a rating of cool in regard to Arkansas, it's becoming a trend.

At 6'6", 205, Boateng ranks as a Top 25 player on nearly every recruiting service, including a No. 16 rating with Rivals. He's another one of those "can't let this guy get away" recruits, yet, his interest in becoming a Razorback appears to be minimal at best.

During a video interview that took place while Boateng was at the USA Junior National Mini-Camp , he listed the teams with which he was in talks. He went through half the SEC before throwing in the Razorbacks seemingly as an afterthought without any indication of passion about his home state's team.

When talking about what gets him going when it comes to basketball, Boateng talks about his passion for playing shutdown defense, which is the defining characteristic of a Musselman-led team.

In a follow-up question, he's asked which schools he wants to hear from the most. Boateng responds with Baylor and UCLA.

The Bruins got a shout-out because of their academic programs and connections to high rollers who can help fund opportunities to go wherever he may choose in the future.

However, the first team out of his mouth, with no hesitation, was Baylor, and the explanation why served a double purpose of explaining why the Bears and why not the Razorbacks, revealing a not so surprising Achilles heel for Musselman in recruiting.

"I remember when [Baylor] won their last championship and the coach utilized everybody on the team," Boateng said. "It wasn't just the set five group of people. Like when they played Gonzaga, they were able to take five people off the bench and put them back in as substitutes."

It's hard to speak a more obvious subtweet out loud toward Musselman than that.

When the season began, it felt like this would be the year Musselman would have to go deeper than six or seven players getting all the playing time.

The team was stacked with talent. Yet, no matter the injuries, no matter the lead, Musselman kept the bench relatively short.

The option to run teams right out of the gym with multiple waves of highly talented players was there in front of him, but Musselman is a creature of habit. He likes a short bench and no amount of talent sitting on the rest of it was going to change that.

That's not a slight on Musselman. The man racks up wins like McDonald's sells cheeseburgers, so there's no need in questioning what obviously works for him.

But, when elite athletes see guys like Barry Dunning and Derrian Ford not even getting minutes in blowouts with a line of transfers out the door trying to get into Arkansas like it's a Taylor Swift concert, it's easy to understand why the Razorbacks may not be at the top of their list.

These are guys looking to spend a year in college and move on to the NBA and that can't happen when a player brimming with talent is so far down the bench it's hard to tell he's on the team.

Right now Boateng is predicted to go to Missouri. There's no denying that Dennis Gates immediately changed the culture when he took over there this past season, which makes the Tigers appealing to a lot of recruits right now.

However, there's one key number that stands out.

Of the 15 players on the team, 11 averaged at least 10 minutes of playing time per game. Seven averaged over 20 minutes per game.

Seven Razorbacks also averaged over 20 minutes per game, but only nine got 10 minutes or more. It's only two more players, but when you're a recruit looking for on-court time to develop, knowing two more guys are going to get at least five minutes per half to get better and show what they've got in game situations means a lot because opportunity matters.

It should also be noted that the Arkansas numbers are misleading. They include Trevon Brazile, who topped 20 minutes while only playing nine games and Nick Smith, Jr. who played in less than half.

That means players got significant minutes who wouldn't have if this were a healthy season for the Hogs. That list of players topping a 20 minute average would have most likely been five.

Again, there's no arguing that it's a system that works. The trade-off is just missing out on big-time recruits in one of the more talented states per capita from a basketball standpoint anywhere in the country.

Possibly even more impressive than three straight Sweet 16s, Musselman has made Arkansas fans OK with that.

And for that, respect must be given. That's something not even the great Nolan Richardson might have been able to pull off.

HOGS FEED :

RAZORBACKS GET KEY PITCHING FROM INFIELDER AGAINST OMAHA MAVERICKS

HUGE NAMES ENTERING TRANSFER PORTAL WITH RAZORBACKS' NAME MENTIONED IN OPTIONS

IS THERE TROUBLE IN PARADISE ALREADY AT TEXAS A&M WITH BOBBY PETRINO, JIMBO FISHER

FILM ANALYTICS SHOW REASON FOR CONCERN AT WIDE RECEIVER POSITION

COLLEGE BASEBALL SHOULD FEAR WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SEC OFFENSIVELY

HOGS' SAM PITTMAN CAN FINALLY GET BACK ON FIELD FOR SPRING PRACTICE ON TUESDAY

RAZORBACKS END SEASON WITH NIT LOSS AGAINST A VERY GOOD KANSAS TEAM ON SUNDAY

GAME 3 BLOG AS NO. 1 LSU, NO. 5 ARKANSAS LOCK UP IN RUBBER GAME

WHAT HAPPENED IN RAZORBACKS' FIRST GAME AGAINST LSU ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON

WHAT DAVE VAN HORN HAS DONE UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES HAS BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF MAGIC

ARKANSAS OBLITERATED BY UCONN AS RAZORBACK CAREERS COME TO AN END

THIS IS WHY CASINOS DON'T LET KIDS GAMBLE ON THE NCAA TOURNAMENT

MAYBE ALABAMA COACHES NEED TO BE A LITTLE MORE LIKE RAZORBACK COACHES

MIKE ANDERSON HAS LEGITIMATE ARGUMENT TO MAKE WITH ST. JOHN'S OVER FIRING "FOR CAUSE"

DAVE VAN HORN GETS WIN NO. 1,400 HEADING INTO SHOWDOWN WITH NO. 1 LSU

SABAN PROVES ARKANSAS HAS SOMETHING ALABAMA DOESN'T IN LATEST PRESS CONFERENCE

PERPETUAL BASKETBALL BLOG

NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

ARKANSAS BASEBALL SCHEDULE

FAYETTEVILLE WEATHER UPDATE

Return to allHogs home page.

Want to join in on the discussion? Click here to become a member of the allHOGS message board community today!

Follow allHOGS on Twitter and Facebook.

Expand All
Comments / 0
Add a Comment
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Local Texas State newsLocal Texas State
Most Popular newsMost Popular

Comments / 0