The decade of the 2010s is over. Arkansas basketball had an underwhelming decade, but much better than the decade before. No losing seasons, five 20-win campaigns, but just 3 NCAA tournament appearances. The decade began with John Pelphrey at the helm, 8 seasons of Mike Anderson, and ends with Eric Musselman. The foundation has been rebuilt at the end of this decade. 10 years from now, I think we look back at a much different decade.
Given the current state of our world with the COVID-19 pandemic, why not have some fun and create an All-Decade Team for Arkansas basketball? I will give my First and Second Team. The criteria I am looking at will be statistics and how much an individual player meant to his team’s success. Also note, this will not look like a traditional basketball lineup. When all-conference teams are released there are more than 5 players and they are rarely position specific. I have put the best 7 players on First Team and the next best 7 on the Second Team.
Bobby Portis – Little Rock, AR (2013-15)
Portis without a doubt is the player of the decade for Arkansas basketball. He was the best player on the best team in the 21st century. 27 wins in the 2014-15 season earning a #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Portis’ accolades included SEC All-Freshman in 2014, All-SEC second team in 2014, All-SEC first team in 2015, SEC Player of the Year in 2015, and a Consensus All-American in 2015.
Portis was drafted 22nd overall by the Chicago Bulls. He is now with the New York Knicks after a short stint with the Washington Wizards.
Career numbers as a Razorback: 15.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game with a 52.6 FG% and a 36.5 3P% in 70 games played.
One small detail I left out: Bobby Portis is my favorite Razorback of all-time!
Jaylen Barford – Jackson, TN (2016-18)
Barford came to Arkansas as the #1 rated JUCO prospect in 2016 with 2 years to play. In those 2 years, Arkansas earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament both seasons. He was a part of the team that nearly made one of the biggest upsets in school history over eventual National Champions, North Carolina.
The slashing guard used his strong upper frame to get to the basket at will. Barford had one of the more impressive improvements in shooting that I have ever seen. His first year in Fayetteville, Barford shot just 26.6% from the 3-point line, but improved his percentage up to 43.3% to lead the team the following season.
Jaylen has spent time playing in the G League and in Italy.
Career Numbers as a Razorback: 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game with 45.5 FG% and 37.4 3P% in 71 games played.
Mason Jones – Desoto, TX (2018-20)
The greatest individual story of resiliency in recent memory. Mason Jones had zero D1 offers coming out of high school, but was the Co-SEC Player of the Year and a AP All- American Honorable Mention in 2020. Jones had one of the greatest seasons in Arkansas history in 2019-20. Two 40 point games, nine 30 point games, and eighteen 20 point games. He is the first Arkansas Razorback to win the SEC scoring title. Jones also led the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
Mason has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft, but according to reports, has not hired an agent. This may not be the end of Mason Jones in a Razorback uniform.
Career Stats as a Razorback: 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game with 35.8 3P% in 65 games played.
Daryl Macon – Little Rock, AR (2016-18)
Daryl Macon was the #3 overall JUCO prospect coming in. Macon, like Bobby Portis, was all Razorback as a kid. Playing for the Hogs was a dream come true for Daryl. Fans remember his love for the post-game press conferences and his smooth 3 point shot.
Macon went undrafted in 2018, but has played in 12 career NBA games with the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. Macon has spent the majority of his time in the G League with the Texas Legends and the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In 2 seasons in the G League, Macon has averaged 18.1 points and 5.5 assists per game.
Career stats as a Razorback: 15.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game with 45.0 FG% and 40.5 3P% in 71 games played.
Daniel Gafford – El Dorado, AR (2017-19)
Gafford was a top 50 recruit tasked with replacing Moses Kingsley. He was known for highlight dunks and demoralizing blocks. As a freshman, Gafford had a great supporting cast of Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford to help him adjust to Division 1 basketball. As a sophomore, the team was Gafford’s. Despite going 18-16, Gafford dominated a lot of games that season. He was awarded by making First Team All-SEC and the SEC All-Defensive team.
Gafford was drafted 38th by the Chicago Bulls in 2019. He was receiving more minutes off the bench as the season progressed. Like he did in a Razorback uniform, Gafford has already had several highlight dunks and blocks.
Career stats as a Razorback: 14.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game with a 63.5 FG in 67 games played.
Dusty Hannahs – Little Rock, AR (2015-17)
Hannahs was a 2-star recruit coming out of high school from Pulaski Academy. He began his career at Texas Tech before coming back home where he will go down as one of the best transfers in Arkansas history.
He was the team’s leading scorer in back-to-back seasons including arguably the most talented team this decade. Hannahs will always be a fan favorite in Fayetteville.
He went undrafted in 2017, but has spent the past 3 seasons in the G League with the Memphis Hustle. He has had 2 short stints with the Memphis Grizzlies where he played in 4 games.
Career stats as a Razorback: 15.4 points on 43.9 FG% and 38.7 3P% in 68 career games.
Moses Kingsley – Abuja, Nigeria (2013-17)
Kingsley came to Arkansas as a top 50 recruit to backup 5-star Bobby Portis. He saw action from the get go and is 3rd all time in games played at Arkansas. Moses was a 2-time All-SEC Defensive and 2-time All-SEC Second team member.
The jump he made his junior year was shocking to watch. The team was not good, but Kingsley was incredible. As a sophomore, he averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. As a junior, he averaged 15.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. What a jump! His first 2 years, Kingsley was effective on defense, but the offense just wasn’t there yet. He was the best player on the 2015-16 team.
He went undrafted in 2017 and spent his first few seasons in Belgium with the Antwerp Giants. Last year, he played for Peristeri BC in Greece.
Career stats as a Razorback: 8.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks with 50.8 FG% in 136 games played.
Michael Qualls – Shreveport, LA (2012-15)
Qualls was known as Mr. Walk On Air. He provided endless highlight dunks that made multiple SportsCenter Top 10 appearances. The greatest of all those highlight dunks was the buzzer-beating put back against Kentucky in 2014. As a junior, Qualls took a big leap and truthfully, carried the team at the end of the season. He was Second Team All-SEC in 2015.
Qualls went undrafted in 2015 after tearing his ACL in a NBA workout. Qualls has played in the G League, Italy, Israel, and most recently the Philippines. He averaged 32.1 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game last season.
Career stats as a Razorback: 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in 100 career games.
Rotnei Clarke – Claremore, OK (2008-11)
Clarke is one of the greatest shooter in Arkansas history. Fans won’t forget his record setting night to open the 2009-10 season when he broke the school record for points scored in a game. Rotnei had 51 points that night on 13 made 3 pointers. He had 10 career games with over 30 points. He would be the all-time school leader in 3 point field goals, but transferred before his senior season after John Pelphrey was fired.
Clarke has played overseas in Australia, Belgium, Germany, and most recently Italy.
Career stats as a Razorback: 14.2 points, 41.6 3p%. 2nd all-time in school history in made 3-point field goals.
B.J. Young – St. Louis, MO (2011-13)
Young was a part of the first class Mike Anderson had at Arkansas. The class was recruited by John Pelphrey, but Anderson was able to convince them all to come to Arkansas after Pelphrey’s firing.
While a Razorback, Young earned SEC All-Freshman honors and was a 2-time All-SEC second team.
Young had the ability to get to the basket at will. He shot a very high percentage from 2 point range for a guard his size. 55% as a freshman and 52% as a sophomore.
Young has spent time playing in the G League, Slovakia, Georgia, and Mongolia.
Career stats as a Razorback: 15.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game with a 47.5 FG%.
Marshawn Powell – Crozet, VA (2009-13)
Powell was setup to dominate in the 2011-12 season. He had 2 years of experience under his belt. After dominating in the first 2 games of the year, he injured his knee in practice that resulted in the end of his season. Powell came back more efficient and left after his Redshirt Junior year. If Powell returns for his senior season in 2013-14, Arkansas would have easily been in the NCAA Tournament instead of making a NIT appearance.
Powell has played overseas in Ukraine, Lithuania, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
Career stats as a Razorback: 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds with 49.2 FG%
Isaiah Joe – Fort Smith, AR (2018-present)
Isaiah Joe has the purest 3 point shot I have seen from a Razorback player.
The sharpshooter currently sits at 7th in school history in made 3 point field goals, but another full season could move him as high as 2nd.
Joe was purely a shooter as a freshman, but added some versatility to his game as a sophomore. He got to the basket more and attempted more mid-range jumpers. Joe should have a long career in the NBA with his shooting ability and lockdown defense. For now, Hog fans are left to wonder when that will be.
Career stats as a Razorback: 15.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals with 37.8 3P% in 59 career games. 207 career 3 point field goals.
Jimmy Whitt Jr. – Colombia, MO (2015-16, 2019-20)
Some of you may be wondering how I put Jimmy Whitt here. Here’s why: Whitt was outstanding this season for Arkansas. He defended the best player from every team on every single night. He is a point guard by nature, but was placed in the paint in the “dunker” spot of the Musselman system. That didn’t affect him. 14.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with 48.7 FG% from a 6-1 guard playing primarily in the paint. That’s incredible.
Senior night in the Bud against LSU was an amazing performance for Whitt. 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Whitt did leave after his freshman year, transferred to SMU, but came back as Graduate Transfer.
Career stats as a Razorback: 10.0 points and 3.4 rebounds with 45.2 FG% in 64 career games.
Anthlon Bell – Bartlett, TN (2012-16)
Truthfully, I struggled with the final guy on this list. There were others with similar career numbers who were deserving. What put Bell over the edge for me was his senior season. His peak was higher than the other players I considered. Let’s not forget he is 4th all-time in career 3 point field goals.
As a senior, Bell averaged 15.7 points per game. I never expected that from Bell. Honestly, no one did.
Bell has played overseas in Mexico, The Netherlands, and Norway.
Career stats as a Razorback: 8.9 points with 237 career 3 point field goals in 129 games played.