The 2020-21 season has officially begun with the Red/White Game titled, “BWA Live” this season. It was attended by students only and included a dunk contest. More on that later.
What made this Red/White Game so intriguing is that it is the first look at this new roster. The new players wore the Arkansas uniform for the first time. Tonight’s game gave fans an idea what to expect from the team this year.
How will J.D. Notae adjust to high-major basketball? Which freshman are ready to contribute immediately? What improvements has Desi Sills added to his game? How will a player like Justin Smith look in a pace and space offense?
The list of questions could go on and on.
Players hopped from team-to-team to give the coaching staff the ability to play with lineups and matchups. The Red team defeated the White team 103-67.
Let’s dive in to how each scholarship player looked in BWA Live:
Moses showed how smooth his game is. The biggest part of his game that people forget about is his rebounding. He tallied 6 rebounds tonight along with 21 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Moses is an NBA talent. He will be fun to watch. Soak it in because we may only get 1 year of him in Fayetteville.
I have officially declared J.D. as the Step Back King. He victimized Jalen Tate and Davonte Davis on two different step-back 3s tonight. Notae struggled finding a rhythm in the first half, but couldn’t miss in the 2nd half. Notae poured in 30 points with 9 three pointers! He could be a star, but the staff will need to keep an eye on him being a ball stopper. Notae loves to score.
I may have been the most impressed with Smith. He locked up Vance Jackson in the first half. He will guard the best player on opposing teams a lot this year. Smith showed the ability to shoot from 3. He struggled doing that while at Indiana, but he drained 3 beyond the arc tonight. If he can consistently do that then he could be a NBA draft pick.
The freshman was extremely efficient tonight and has such smoothness to his game. His jump shot looked great and he created so much for teammates on the offensive end. I was also surprised by his athleticism. K.K. will be a very good Razorback.
Sills scored 24 points tonight. It felt effortless. He made 3s, scored in transition, and got to the basket. Sills is a leader on this team. Fans love him for effort and “dawg” mentality. Desi Sills being consistent will be huge for this team.
Vance Jackson Jr.
Vance seemed to disappear at times, but then burst on to the scene. As I mentioned above, he was locked down by Justin Smith early. Then out of nowhere had back to back 3s. Vance will be a big part of this team’s success.
I’ll be honest. I really haven’t had any expectations for Devo this season. He really held his own out there tonight. He has greatly improved his athleticism and even won the Dunk Contest before the game. He was tasked with guarding Moses Moody which is not easily done. He can really develop into a good player.
Vanover did what Vanover does. Alter shots in the paint, hit 3s, and rebound the basketball. He moved around the floor better than I expected. I don’t see Vanover playing a ton of minutes, but he can be very effective.
Tate had the tale of 2 halves. In the first half, he didn’t do much, but really showed out in the 2nd half. He made plays defensively and was much better off the ball on offense than film showed last year. I see him as 2 guard more than a point guard.
Jaylin didn’t get many opportunities to score the ball, but he really battles on the glass. He has good instincts that led to some assists. If he will cut down on turnovers and can stay out of foul trouble, he can have an impact from game 1!
You can really tell Henderson has improved. In 2 seasons, he has looked lost when on the floor and timid. Not tonight. He battled for rebounds better than he ever has and took advantage of every junk basket opportunity he has.
Overall, I was very impressed with what I saw tonight. We have to take things with a grain of salt in games like these, but this year was different. Everything about it was different. No player was rattled or antsy early on. This team should be able to score, score, score. It is going to be a lot of fun watching this team.
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