The Arkansas Razorbacks are on a roll, winning 4 straight SEC games. In a 76-73 overtime win at a rowdy Bud Walton Arena, JD Notae led the Hogs with 17 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. The only problem was Notae fouled out with 1:04 left in regulation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the Razorbacks are much better with Notae on the floor. With Notae out during OT, the Hogs were able to hang on and get a close win over Texas A&M.
A senior from Covington, GA, Notae currently leads the SEC in scoring (18.6 ppg) and steals (2.5 spg). “Just finishing games, fighting, and playing until that buzzer sounds,” Notae said of the Hogs’ last 4 wins. “Those (SEC games) we lost, we were right there.”
Playing mostly 2-guard last season, Notae has taken on the point guard spot and played it well this season. What makes Notae dangerous on offense is that he can score inside and outside. Many times this season Notae has taken the ball to the basket, off the dribble, slashing in the lane for a layup or a foul. Or a layup AND a foul, “and 1”, the old fashion 3-point play. This season from the free-throw line Notae is shooting 75.8% (44 of 58)
Notae’s defense and rebounding are definitely worth noting as well. As mentioned earlier, Notae is leading the SEC in steals and is crashing the boards too, grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. Notae’s pesky defense and relentless rebounding remind me of Corey Beck. Beck, a former Hog from 1992-95, was a point guard for Coach Nolan Richardson. Beck was a tenacious on-ball defender and stellar rebounder. He guided the Hogs to two Final Fours and a National Championship in 1994. Notae and Beck are very similar defensively, putting pressure on the ball, getting steals.
“You don’t have to watch us too long to know we run a lot of things (on offense) through Notae,” said head coach Eric Musselman. Notae is very important to this Razorback team. As they say, “He’s the straw that stirs the drink.”
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