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Arkansas Basketball Preview: The Guards

This group has some big shoes to fill.

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico at Fresno State Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Starters

PG: Jalen Harris

CG: Isaiah Joe

Wing: Adrio Bailey

Who will replace Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon? That’s the biggest question Arkansas will need to answer this year. They’re not going to do it in terms of production with just two players. Not with this group.

The team is going to look a lot different in terms of how they run the offense with a more distributive minded Jalen Harris at point guard. All Red/White game stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but they’re the only real data point we have for this team right now. With that said, a 10 assist performance is a good sign. Harris looked willing to take and knock down a jump shot as well, which helps as well. The big concern is the six turnovers, but again scrimmage situation.

One thing you can conclude from settings like this is three point shooting, and 9/14 from deep is a good sign that Isaiah Joe could very well lead the team in scoring this year. He’s been putting up big numbers at every level he’s played at and Mike Anderson has his fingers crossed that will continue, especially since most of the returning pieces aren’t known for scoring.

Bailey is one of those interesting tweeners that could land in either the wing role or more of a post role. When he comes out Arkansas is likely to stick with a 3 guard lineup so we’ll slot him in here. 22 points in the Red/White game was a very welcome sign. He’s only hit double digits in scoring four times in his career and three of those were against mid-major opponents. Bailey will need to increase both his scoring and rebounding production for the Hogs to be successful this year.

Off The Bench

PG: Desi Sills

CG: Keyshawn Embery-Simpson

Wing: Mason Jones, Jordan Phillips (Out with Knee Injury)

Sills was super efficient in the Red/White game, which is super rare for a true freshman, probably not replicable for true game situations, and would be a huge plus in the games were he does accomplish that. He packs more of a scoring punch than Harris and can make for a more dynamic backcourt for flashes during games.

Built in a nearly identical way to Barford, Embery-Simpson won’t shoot from outside the same way Barford will but he can still score. He didn’t have a great night in the scrimmage but averaged over 26 points per game in high school.

The only JUCO transfer of the incoming class, Jones showed out in the scrimmage last week. In addition to his 22 points there were also four assists and three rebounds. With Jordan Phillips out with a knee injury, Mason will get plenty of time off the bench this year.

Not Sure?

  • Khalil Garland

It’s really impossible to say what Garland can bring to the table, assuming he gets cleared at all. He was the second highest recruit in 2017’s class behind Daniel Gafford, and should be a difference maker. However he hasn’t been in game action for over a year. Hopefully we get to see Garland on the court sooner rather than later this year and end the speculation.

Walk Ons

  • Jonathan Holmes
  • Ty Stevens

Get buckets young men. The walk-on buckets counter last year hit seven. Let’s see if we can top that this year.