Basketball season will be here before we know it. While the official season start date was moved back to November 25, teams all over the nation are already practicing and preparing for the most wonderful time of the year.
Here at Arkansas Fight, Ryan Bolding and myself will be previewing a different player each week and what to expect this season. Next up is Connor Vanover.
#23 Connor Vanover – R-So. 7-3 247
In our previous player preview, we talked about how Vance Jackson has been taken all over the country because of basketball. The same can be said for Connor Vanover. The Little Rock native transferred from Baptist Prep to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas while in high school, played on Team USA in Argentina, was a college freshman at Cal, and now is back in his home state on the Hill. Vanover was committed to Tubby Smith and Memphis, but when Smith was fired, Vanover settled on Cal. Former Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson had offered Connor Vanover, but didn’t pursue him at great lengths. Vanover wouldn’t have been a good fit for Anderson’s system.
Now with Musselman on the Hill, Vanover is a perfect fit for the Pace and Space that Musselman loves. Vanover is a unicorn. A one of a kind. Of course he gives up some quickness on defense. Of course he may have trouble rebounding when facing a center with a lot of strength. Despite that, you can’t argue with his ability to alter shots. That is why they say, “You can’t teach height.”
Vanover’s improved with time and experience at Cal.
In his first 17 games, he averaged just 11.0 minutes, 4.5 points, and 1.8 rebounds a game.
In his final 11 games at Cal, Vanover averaged 27.5 minutes, 12.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. In those 11 games, he shot 49.1% from the field and 37.8% from 3.
I expect to see similar numbers from Vanover while at Arkansas.
He is the type of player than will drop 20+ in a game then follow it up with 5 points. Matchups will play a big part in what kind of minutes and production Vanover has. There is no reason why Vanover won’t be huge boost off the bench for this team.
Musselman won’t put Connor in situations to fail defensively. They will pick their spots for favorable matchups. While Vanover isn’t quick by any means, he moves better than most think. I think he will surprise fans this season on the defensive end.
The makeup this roster is full of players who should be able to create and get to the rack. If those players can execute that then we should see a lot of Connor Vanover threes this season. I am thrilled he is a Razorback!
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