What a season it was for the Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball team in 2020-2021. From going 10-0 in November and December to dropping four out of five in January, to going on a 12 game conference winning streak after that, head coach Eric Musselman has turned things around in Fayetteville ahead of schedule.
Points: Guard/Forward Moses Moody, Freshman (16.8 PPG)
The freshman Moses Moody averaged close to 17.5 a game during most of the season before having a tough postseason. Moody, still, put up double digit points in every NCAA Tournament game. Moody, a likely lottery pick, will still likely enter the 2021 NBA Draft despite recent struggles from the field.
Assists: Guard Jalen Tate, Senior (3.8 APG)
The grad transfer from Northern Kentucky was an intricate part in the hogs’ run to the second weekend of the tournament including the pass that set up what turned out to be Davonte Davis’ game-winning shot over Oral Roberts. Tate should also be gone pursuing his professional aspirations.
Field Goal %, Rebounds: Justin Smith, Senior (57.1%, 7.3 RPG)
The grad transfer from Indiana vastly improved his play in Fayetteville under Eric Musselman. He might have been the most important player on the team because of his versatility on both sides of the ball. He made key shots and grabbed key rebounds all season long before many expect him to begin a professional career.
Steals: JD Notae, Junior (1.4 SPG)
The guard who had to sit out the 2019-2020 season, was better known for his great three-point shot than creating turnovers for the hogs in 2020-2021. But, Notae made some great plays, setting up opportunities for Arkansas to come back from multiple double-digit deficits in postseason play. Notae will likely return to Fayetteville next season.
Blocks: Connor Vanover, Sophomore (1.8 BPG)
Although he was rarely used in the last part of the season, Vanover was a key piece inside making the hogs 9-0 through November and December. Adding muscle onto Vanover in the offseason is going to improve Vanover’s play and likely get him more minutes when next season comes around.
Other Players (Everyone else who played):
Guard Desi Sills, Junior
Desi, similar to Connor Vanover, played a huge role earlier in the season for the hogs. But Freshman Devo Davis and Junior JD Notae proved to be better pieces for Coach Musselman during conference play and in the SEC/Big 12 challenge. Desi announced last week he would be leaving the program via the transfer portal.
Guard Davonte “Devo” Davis, Freshman
Davonte did not get many minutes at the beginning of the season because at the time he was such a raw athlete that could not shoot the ball well. But, in Arkansas’ 12-game SEC winning streak and in the postseason Devo Davis was the most important player for Arkansas. Countless forced turnovers and timely shots made by Devo kept Arkansas in so many games. When Arkansas went down double-digits in every NCAA Tournament game, he made play after play to get them back in the game (even in the Baylor game that they lost).
Forward Jaylin Williams, Freshman
Similar to Devo, Jaylin Williams sat on the bench most of the time in November and December. But, like Devo, he kept his head down and kept working. Williams was a key part in why Arkansas beat Alabama on February 24 to keep them from winning an inevitable SEC regular season title which the Tide would win the following Saturday. Williams made it into the starting lineup in the Round of 32 after being sidelined due to COVID protocols in late February. In the Round of 32, Williams had ten rebounds that won the hogs the game over Texas Tech.
Ethan Henderson, Junior
Of the multiple players from the Natural State (Moses, Davonte, KK, Jaylin, and Desi), Henderson is one of two juniors (Desi) and one of two players left from Mike Anderson (Desi). Henderson played a big role in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinal when starting forward Justin Smith got hurt. Henderson preceded to get Missouri big man Jeremiah Tilmon in foul trouble and get Arkansas in the SEC Tournament Semifinals.
Khalen “KK” Robinson, Freshman
KK Robinson’s foot injury cut his season short. Robinson played in the first 11 games of the season before his lingering foot problem cut his season short. Robinson then preceded to have foot surgery. Robinson got his boot off but is still having to wear it every so often. The freshman will return to Fayetteville next season.
Final Record: 25-7 (13-4) SEC