Musselman Completes Recruiting Class; Joe Ponders NBA
FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman officially completed his last part of a nationally basketball renowned recruiting class Monday, signing highly regarded 6-foot point guard, KK Robinson of Bryant, with a prep season at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy while announcing the second of his two 2029 leading scorers also has officially submitted his name into the NBA draft.
One difference in the potentially turning pro players, 2019-2010 second leading scorer and 2019-2020 sophomore guard and ex Fort Smith Northside Grizzly, Isaiah Joe, is not signing with an agent and seems very much exploring the NBA opportunity keeping his options open to withdraw his name from the NBA draft by June 3, which would allow him to return to the Razorbacks for his junior.
Though not yet announced as signed with an agent, 2019-2020 junior guard and SEC Co-Player of the Year Mason Jones has indicated publicly and to Musselman he does intend on keeping his name in the draft and is not expected to return for his senior season.
Robinson has long committed to sign, but waited until Monday to sign so that all his family could be on hand. He completes a 6-man class for second-year Arkansas Coach Musselman with four instate incoming freshmen, also Jaylin Williams, variously listed 6-9 and 6-10, from Fort Smith Northside, 6-4 point guard Devontae Davis of Jacksonville and 6-6 guard Moses Moody who played ninth grade at Little Rock Parkview, 10th grade at North Little Rock and the last two seasons at Monteverde, (Fla.) Academy.
Arkansas also signed two graduate transfers with one season’s eligibility, 6-9 forward Vance Jackson via the University of New Mexico and 6-6 guard/forward Jalen Tate via Northern Kentucky University.
Davis signed during last November’s early signing period. Williams, Tate and Jackson signed during last Wednesday’s start of the April signing period. Moody signed Friday.
Musselman has described the attributes of his first five signees and was free to discuss Robinson once he signed Monday. “He’s a great competitor,” Musselman said during a late afternoon Monday teleconference. “Very serious-minded about the game. Really good speed with the basketball. Really unselfish. I mean, when I watched him at Oak Hill he played with some guys who could really score the ball. And he was perfectly content to make his teammates better, to share the ball. He’s got great court vision. He’s really good in transition. He’s a point guard who’s a facilitator. Then defensively he can put great pressure on the ball. He can pick up in the backcourt and turn ball handlers. I think he’s a guy that he’s really good at advance passes. That’s the one thing that when different staff members went to watch him practice at Oak Hill was his ability to lead transition points, both off the bounce and off of advance passes.”
Regarding the class, ranked sixth nationally by ESPN and 247 Sports and ninth by Rivals and third in the SE by ESPN and fourth in the SEC by 247 and Rivals, Musselman said, “A lot of hard work went in by the entire staff, you know, to be able to get you know all four really good guys. Guys that wanted to be a part of the Razorback family. Players that played all different positions for the most part. Just a really, really exciting recruiting class for us, especially our “first” class. We, as a staff, as a program, are absolutely thrilled.”
All four incoming Arkansas born freshmen rank in ESPN’s top 100 prospects. “Obviously when you look at the past of how many great players have come out of this state, we were fortunate that there was four guys in the top 100,” Musselman said. “Those four guys were the four guys that were pretty consistent being top-100 guys and we got all of them. Extremely excited about that. It’s not often you can come into a situation and have that many guys within your state and be able to land all of them.”
Musselman’s roster already includes starting junior to be starting guard Desi Sills of Jonesboro, reserve junior to be forward Ethan Henderson of Little Rock and now eligible sophomore transfer center Connor Vanover of Little Rock redshirted last season, and at least for now, Isaiah Joe. “We had a Zoom call today with our current team and Isaiah was on it,” Musselman said. “He’ll remain part of everything that we do going forward. He’ll just kind of have a dual role in pursuing that goal as well as doing anything that we do as a program as well.
An every game starter both for former Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson two seasons ago and starting 25 of 26 games last season for Musselman with six missed because of arthroscopic knee surgery, Joe, 6-5 sports pro potential averaging 16.9 points last season as the SEC’s leading 3-point shooter and also is a much appreciated defender leading the Razorbacks in taking charges. He also is an intense student determined eventually to graduate while considering his options in the cooperative NCAA and NBA process that includes the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. “He will not hire an agent,” Musselman said. “He’ll keep the door open for a possible return to college. Isaiah and his family, they want to gather as much feedback as they possibly can then make a decision whenever that time comes, whether to keep his name in the draft or to come back to the University of Arkansas. We want to support him.”