Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman just landed his third five-star recruit of the 2022 class in 6-6 guard, Anthony Black, out of Duncanville, TX.
Coach Musselman landed his first five-star recruit just a few months ago in September of 2021 when 6-4 guard, Nick Smith Jr. called the Hogs. Smith is a high-IQ player with a knack for scoring the ball from anywhere on the court.
Then, a few weeks later in October of 2021, 6-7 forward, Jordan Walsh, followed suit and joined the Razorback family. Walsh will slot in as a hybrid small forward/power forward with the Razorbacks thanks to his combination of ball handling, elite athleticism, and unreal length.
Now, the two Hog commits are joined by a 6-7 combo guard in Black. This incoming freshman shares a few traits with both of his fellow five-star Hog commits.
Anthony Black High-Level Breakdown
Black sees the court from an offensive perspective similar to that of Nick Smith. The Duncanville product, however, possesses more of a pass-first mentality whereas Smith is more of an elite scoring threat. That isn’t to say Black cannot score the ball – because he definitely can – but he’s still working on improving his outside jumper and already possesses all the tools necessary to be a playmaker and facilitator. The two guards stand a chance to complement each other nicely with the Hogs next season.
The 6-7 guard relates less to Walsh considering the forward will likely spend more time off the ball in a role similar to that of Au’Diese Toney’s this past season with Arkansas. The similarity comes in their aggressive nature when attacking the basketball and athletic ability. Walsh holds the slight edge on Black in terms of raw leaping ability, but Black is crafty with his shots once he gets in the paint, always adding new wrinkles to his bag of tricks to keep the defense guessing.
Black is also one of the best defenders in his class. Standing at 6-7, Black can essentially hold his own defensively against any position at the high school level. That won’t always hold true when he faces SEC-caliber big men, but the lengthy guard has the potential to wreak havoc on SEC backcourts next season. He has a high IQ and all of the physical tools necessary to be a problem-causer in Musselman’s defensive scheme.
Retool and Reload
Arkansas is merely days away from ending its season in the Elite Eight for the second season in a row. To the average fan, this may not seem like much more than a “good season,” but a closer inspection shows just how rare it is to reach that level of the tournament for consecutive years.
The last four teams to accomplish this feat were Duke (2018-2019), Kansas (2017-2018), North Carolina (2016-2017), and Kentucky (2014-2015). Arkansas isn’t a “Blue Blood” quite yet, but earning their place on lists such as this one will quickly help their cause.
Many doubted the Razorbacks’ ability to make another tournament run this season mainly due to losing NBA lottery pick Moses Moody after the 2020-2021 campaign – a year in which they lost to eventual the national champion Baylor Bears.
However, thanks in large part to yet another impressive transfer portal haul, the Razorbacks found themselves matched up against a powerhouse program in the Elite Eight once again, this time against the Duke Blue Devils in Coach Krzyzewski’s final tournament run.
The top-to-bottom offensive talent of the Blue Devils ultimately proved too much for the Hogs to handle. Incredibly, coach Musselman is immediately remedying that issue with the massive amount of talent being brought in with the upcoming freshman class.
This is the first time the Hogs have ever brought in three McDonald’s All-American recruits in the same season and the first time they’ve had more than one such recruit since Todd Day and Lee Mayberry in the class of 1988. Arkansas now sits – and will likely finish – just behind Duke as the No. 2 rated recruiting class in the nation barring any unexpected changes of heart from other players or teams in the top 10.
All of this goes without even mentioning the other three four-star recruits the Razorbacks are bringing on campus next year: 6-4 guard, Derrian Ford; 6-6 guard/forward, Joseph Pinion; 6-6 forward, Barry Dunning. That puts the grand total at six incoming freshmen rated as four-star recruits or better.
The Razorbacks only had three true seniors that did not have an extra year of eligibility to end their season – Chris Lykes, Trey Wade, and Stanley Umude – plus an empty scholarship spot that coach Musselman never opted to use this season. For anyone keeping count, that’s six incoming players and only four open roster spots.
The most prominent factor in this scholarship equation will come with the decisions of players like JD Notae and Jaylin Williams who could test the professional route.
Then, any of the other players on the roster could potentially test the transfer portal market or try their hand at going pro as well.
Those players include Devo Davis, Au’Diese Toney, Kamani Johnson, Connor Vanover, Jaxson Robinson, KK Robinson, and Chance Moore.
These are all of the remaining players on the roster, not players rumored to be leaving or testing the market. Take a deep breath, Hog fans.
Assuming that anywhere from 3 to 5 of the current players move on to a new chapter in their careers, Musselman will have roughly 2 to 3 roster spots to work with when evaluating the transfer portal, though it could be as few as one spot and as many as four spots depending on the decisions of current players.
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