10 most painful early departures in the Musselman Era

Feb 18, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Former Arkansas Razorbacks and current Oklahoma City
Feb 18, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Former Arkansas Razorbacks and current Oklahoma City / Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
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NIL and the transfer portal have completely changed the landscape of college sports. It has essentially turned into a semipro league, with free agency. In the past, student-athletes chose a school, developed for a few years, and if talented enough, went pro. Before the transfer portal, all fans had to worry about were players leaving early to go pro (and who can be upset at that). Now, fans can watch any favorite player leave after one season.

The personal connection (or at least the feeling of one) makes college sports unique. Without it, you wouldn't have the passion you see any given Saturday on College Football Game Day or during the Final Four. But, whether you like it or not, it's here to stay in some form or fashion. So instead of complaining, enjoy the short time players are on the team.

Sometimes, you'll find a transfer that embraces the team like he was recruited in high school. Other times, you'll be blindsided by an unexpected departure and be disappointed they're leaving.

Arkansas has had its fair share of painful early departures. All of them were players that fans loved or never really showed their true potential in Fayetteville. Some transferred, while others followed their dreams to the NBA. Some made the correct choice, but others were questionable. They weren't unexpected per se, but every goodbye was painful.

Top-10 most painful early departures in the Musselman era.

10. Tramon Mark

Mark was one of the few consistent bright spots on an otherwise disappointing basketball team. At Houston, he was known for his defense, but at Arkansas, his offensive game flourished. He led the team in scoring with 279 points and averaged 16.4 a game. Mark also led the team in minutes, hardly ever coming off the court with 34.1 a game.

Most likely, fans will remember him for his Battle 4 Atlantis performance against North Carolina. He had 34 points, shooting an insane 76.5 percent from the field and another 66.7 percent from downtown.

However, the most disappointing thing about his transfer isn't about losing his production. It's about where he transferred. Mark has gone back to Texas to join the Longhorns for their inaugural season in the SEC. 

The 2024-25 SEC schedule hasn't been announced yet, but if Texas draws Arkansas at Bud Walton, it'll be more of a slap to the face. To watch a player come back to Fayetteville in the jersey of a massive rival is nuts. But that's what you get with the Wild West of the transfer portal.