FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman Wednesday afternoon discussed his latest two player additions to Razorbacks basketball and also discussed tonight’s Red-White intrasquad game.
Under covid-19 circumstances, the 7 p.m. game at Walton Arena is limited only to UA students. Even during the season, capacity at 19,000 seat Walton will be limited to 4,000 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
For Wednesday’s start of the November early signing period, Musselman inked 4-star rated 6-10 transfer power forward Akol Mawein of Navarro (Texas) Junior College and Chance Moore, a 6-5 4-star rated shooting guard/small forward from McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga.
Mawein, called AK by Musselman, is on target to be Razorbacks eligible at the Jan. 20 start of the spring semester.
Moore’s freshman eligibility begins in 2021-2022.
“Chance being able to play the two or the three with great athleticism, really good length, he’s really played well of late,” Musselman said. “The thing is the entire family was so excited to be a part of Arkansas. They jumped all in. They asked a lot of really, really good questions. They got a chance to come and visit on their own. But the excitement they’ve given us to be a part of this thing is really cool.”
Mawein, originally from Australia also the national home of David Patrick, the first-year Razorbacks assistant and former Australian National team coach, played two high school seasons at Southwest Christian in Little Rock.
Patrick was instrumental recruiting Mawein, Musselman said.
“You talk about a 6-foot-10, 240-pound player who’s got really, really good versatility playing inside and out,” Musselman said. “I think he’s ranked as the No. 1 power forward by a couple different outlets as far as junior college goes. He’s got the local ties, as well, having played here in the past. Both guys can make threes and also beat people of the dribble. So we’re excited about both of those guys.”
Since the NCAA because of covid concerns has forbidden the two preseason exhibition games normally allowed, tonight’s Red-White game, to be streamed on the ESPN app, marks the Razorbacks’ lone scheduled public appearance before opening the season on Nov. 25 at Walton against Mississippi Valley State.
“Obviously we want to do it to try to promote the program,” Musselman said. “We want to do it for the student body. But it’s a part or a tool of the evaluation process.”
Musselman hadn’t yet divided the teams for tonight’s game when he spoke Wednesday afternoon with media but said he would have various players swap jerseys at half.
“We’ll have five scholarship guys on the Red team, five on the White,” Musselman said. “Connor (Vanover, the 7-3 sophomore redshirted last season transferred from the University of California) has missed a lot of time. So he’ll probably be a sub on one of the two teams just based on lack of being on the practice floor of late.”
When Vanover has been healthy, he’s provided a mountain that 6-10 freshman forward Jaylin Williams of Fort Smith Northside previously hadn’t had to climb. Williams was inevitably the tallest on the court in high school practices and games.
“ A couple of times I just had to stand back and realize how big he is, Williams said. “I felt like I was small compared to him. He’s a great player on the court and his size is crazy when he’s using it shooting that ball and blocking those shots.”
Must help him preparing for the SEC big men awaiting. “Yes,” Williams said. “Playing against Connor I’ll go back making sure I get my touches higher off the glass and makes me work on different aspects of my game I wasn’t used to really working on back in high school.” Williams is part of a 4-man freshman class with guards Moses Moody, KK Robinson and Devo Davis.
Musselman also added grad transfers Jalen Tate, Justin Smith and Vance Jackson and activates 20019-2020 redshirted transfers Vanover and guard JD Notae and return junior 2-year lettermen guard Desi Sills and forward Ethan Henderson.