It’s so close, you can taste it. The Eric Musselman Era has begun at Arkansas, but rather than mindlessly propel us forward, Musselman has given us reason to look back and remember the greatness of Arkansas basketball past. It’s been fun to have a throwback attitude paying homage to Arkansas’ rich basketball history, and Sunday saw the greatest in Arkansas history finally made immortal.
Nolan Richardson Court was officially unveiled at Bud Walton Arena, as the legacy of the national championship winning coach was celebrated. It was an all Arkansas affair that saw former coaches and players in attendance, as well as a really big crowd for an exhibition game.
So, let’s take a moment and talk about things that, quite frankly, you love to see:
1. Nolan’s Signature and the Slobberin’ Hog
Unfortunately, it’s not the center-court logo, but I’ll take it. It’s a really nice touch that’s been long overdue.
2. The Musselman Style of Play
I’ve really been looking forward to this offense, and boy, it didn’t let me down. The designed plays out of time outs were particularly enjoyable. However, it appears that defense is going to be the bread and butter of this team. Arkansas is boasting a pretty small lineup this year, but with the kind of defensive tenacity that the team showed, it may not matter. You can check out all the highlights here:
3. Isaiah Joe
Joe is probably going to be someone that the team leans on for scoring this year. With designed plays and his phenomenal three point shooting, I can see him flourishing this year. He had 25 points and was 8-17 from deep. Moving the three point line back doesn’t seem to be affecting him at all.
4. The Return of Mike Anderson
One of the best moments of the day was the ovation that former coach Mike Anderson got. He was in attendance for Richardson’s honors, in what was an incredibly classy move. He didn’t have to show up, but he did, and the fans let him know that it was meaningful. I have been a very harsh Mike Anderson critic in the past for his coaching, but it’s impossible to deny how great a man he is. I’m glad that he was given such a positive reception.
5. An Arkansas Win
At the end of the day, you’ve gotta win games, and the Hogs did just that. The bigger win was for the state at large though, as proceeds from the game were donated to charities serving the victims of the summer’s severe flooding. It’s really inspiring to see a whole state come together
- Jimmy Whitt’s return was also cool. He looked really good and could be a crucial player down the stretch.
- The audible groans when Bill Clinton appeared on the Jumbotron were hilarious.
- Darrell Walker showed his team “40 Minutes of Hell” ahead of the game; thought that was neat.
- I’m ready for the season to start.
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