I must confess right off the top that because the Arkansas basketball annual red/white scrimmage wasn’t streaming, there is a certain bit of the eye test that will be missing from the analysis (save a few highlight clips posted online). However, that doesn’t mean Razorback fans can’t glean some takeaways from studying the box score.
On Sunday afternoon, the Red team (comprised of Cade Arbogast, Anthony Black, Lawson Blake, Ricky Council IV, Jalen Graham, Makhi Mitchell, Joseph Pinion, and Jordan Walsh) defeated the White team (comprised of Trevon Brazile, Barry Dunning Jr., Derrian Ford, Kamani Johnson, Makhel Mitchell, and Nick Smith Jr.) 64-59 in Barnhill Arena.
Arkansas basketball held the Red/White Scrimmage on Sunday to kick off their season. The balanced squads battled throughout a close game.
Looking at some whole-squad data, each team had identical 14:9 assist:turnover ratios (or roughly 1.5 assists for every turnover). That kind of sloppiness is expected in an early-season scrimmage like this one. However, those numbers should adjust and settle out as the offense continues to gel through practice time together.
However, the three-point shooting could be problematic for Arkansas Basketball and head coach Eric Musselman. The squads combined to go 7-31 (22.6%) from beyond the arc during the scrimmage. Unfortunately, that kind of shot efficiency from three-point range won’t cut it in Musselman’s spacing offense during SEC and NCAA tournament play.
There were some individual bright spots, though. For starters, Graham led all scorers with 25 points in 24 minutes. An Arizona State transfer, Graham was a scorching 10-11 from the field.
Smith led the white squad with 22 points on 20 shots (35%), including 2-7 from three-point range. Smith did add in 3 assists with only one turnover.
Black only scored four points (all on free throws) but also only took three shots. Despite a low shot volume, he still looks like someone who will be an impactful player for Arkansas basketball. Black added nine rebounds and nine assists with three turnovers.
That means Smith and Black had matching 3:1 assist:turnover ratios. Both players wildly outpaced the rest of the team in those categories. Look for much of the offense to be initiated by these two players throughout the season.
Both projected first-round picks, Smith and Black, will only boost their stock if they can effectively run the offense for Arkansas basketball this season.
Ford had the worst shooting afternoon for either squad. He was 2-10 and 0-3 in the game, with three rebounds and one assist in 25 minutes of action. The Magnolia native will need to be more efficient shooting the basketball if he wants to crack Musselman’s typically small rotations.
The most critical takeaway from Sunday’s scrimmage is that we are inching closer and closer to Arkansas basketball playing games that count in Bud Walton Arena. And I’d call that a successful day!