In year 1 of the Eric Musselman era, the roster was limited to say the least. The team lacked size and the rebounding was abysmal. The staff was forced to play small. 6-6 Adrio Bailey was the starting Center for most of the season with Mason Jones playing a Point Forward role. A true 6-1 Jimmy Whitt played in the “dunker” spot which hangs out in the short corner on offense. It was very unconventional.
Those days are no more. Eric Musselman has totally flipped this roster in just 16 months. There will be 10 new scholarship players eligible this season and the possibilities are endless. I expect to see different lineups depending on matchup and the hot hand. With that said, let’s look at the lineup options Musselman and company have.
Jalen Tate, Desi Sills, Isaiah Joe, Justin Smith, Vance Jackson
If Musselman values experience and wants to ease these freshmen into the fold, this is the lineup. 3 graduate transfers plus Sills and Joe who have both been through the SEC ringer. I could see Muss using this lineup early in the season.
Jalen Tate, Moses Moody, Justin Smith, Vance Jackson, Conner Vanover
A lineup of 6-6, 6-6, 6-7, 6-9, and 7-3. You kidding me? This would overwhelm most teams in America. I don’t expect to see this lineup often, but it again shows the versatility this roster has.
K.K. Robinson, Desi Sills, Isaiah Joe, Moses Moody, Justin Smith
There are a couple different ways you could do a small ball lineup with this roster. Trade Vance Jackson for Justin Smith. Even Jaylin Williams as the 5 would work here. Insert J.D. Notae into any spot as well.
J.D. Notae, Isaiah Joe, Moses Moody, Justin Smith, Vance Jackson
This would be a deadly lineup. It could be the starting 5 all year. Who knows? Proven, versatile scorers at every position. I really like the possibilities here.
K.K. Robinson, Isaiah Joe, Moses Moody, Vance Jackson, Conner Vanover
This is a fun one to imagine. All 5 guys are a constant threat from deep. I could see this lineup happening at times this season. The amount of spacing this lineup could cause would be beautiful to watch.
My Starting 5
KK Robinson, Isaiah Joe, Moses Moody, Justin Smith, Vance Jackson
Arkansas hasn’t had a true point guard on a good team in years. Rumors are that K.K. Robinson has been awesome in camp so far. I feel like Hog fans have forgotten how valuable a true PG is. Robinson is a true PG. A true freshman in the PG in the SEC is a huge test, but the depth of this team will allow Robinson to ease into the role. Moses Moody has opened eyes even more in camp so far. Isaiah Joe does what Isaiah Joe does. Vance Jackson will space the floor leaving Justin Smith plenty of room to slash the basket. As of now, I believe this is the best lineup for this team, but with this amount of depth there isn’t a wrong answer.