I was wrong and I’m happy about it.
After only three minutes against SMU and a DNP against California, I thought Moses Kingsley wasn’t going to see significant playing time this season. When he was in the game, he looked a step behind the action. Other media members even thought that he would have benefitted more from redshirting. I never agreed with that, but with his lack of playing time, there was validity to the argument.
Head coach Mike Anderson didn’t help the speculation with the lack of playing time he gave Kingsley. I don’t know what happened between the California loss and the start of the Minnesota game, but Anderson emphasized that he was going to play Kingsley more. It certainly couldn’t hurt the Hogs, who seemed to lack presence inside and were dominated by the Golden Bears on the boards.
Minnesota was a must win for the Razorbacks. They lose that game and they end up in the last place game against Chaminade. That scenario would make it extremely difficult for the Razorbacks to dance come March.
Kingsley was a spark off the bench against the Golden Gophers. He was a forward version of Kikko Haydar. Not the raining threes type of spark, but he kept Minnesota off the offensive boards and added seven points. For a guy that I was destined to mop-up duty this year, I was blown away.
Kingsley wasn’t finished doing work in Maui. He played another efficient and impactful 10 minutes against Gonzaga. He pulled down seven rebounds and had nine point on a 4-5 shooting performance. Even though the Hogs lost, I was blown away by his performance once again.
Even though it was against inferior competition in Southeastern Louisiana, Kingsley did his best Dikembe Mutombo impression with four blocks.
These are the types of players the Hogs need to perform if they are going to hear their name called on Selection Sunday. Arkansas’ depth on the bench is what can help get them past a team who may have a better starting five. We all know that depth is what makes the "Fastest 40" system work. The ability to play 10 different players between 15 and 25 minutes a game so the tempo can be fast is essential. Kingsley’s 10-15 minutes gives Bobby Portis the ability to take a breather, without Anderson having to go to a smaller Jacorey Williams at the five-position.
Obviously, Kingsley is just a piece of the puzzle that helps the Hogs become a complete team. He’s not ready to be a starter. He’s not ready for the NBA. His upside is unbelievable and to see how much he’s grown in the last three games makes me very optimistic about his future at Arkansas. Don’t expect any more DNPs beside Kingsley’s name in the box score this season.