By Nate Allen
FAYETTEVILLE – Barnhill Arena, the Arkansas Razorbacks beloved basketball home until making way in 1993-94 for Walton Area, resurrects Sunday beyond the women’s volleyball and commencements for which it has continued to function.
Arkansas Men’s Basketball Coach Eric Musselman, as he did two years ago and would have last year but for the covid pandemic, brings Barnhill back to basketball for Sunday’s Red-White intrasquad game.
Tip-off is 2 p.m. and entirely free to the public first come first served. Barnhill’s doors will open at 1 p.m.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, fans should be masked, the UA announced.
“We’re excited to play at Barnhill,” Musselman said. “It gives us a different environment than what we’ll play in all season, and that’s good. We’ve talked a little bit about the history of that building with our guys. The history of who played in that building. The winning tradition in there.”
He recalled the fun and fond memories the last Red-White game at Barnhill stoked.
“I just thought that the environment was really, really cool,” Musselman said. “I think that there’s a section of our fan base that has been in there and remembers it and would like to get back in and see a basketball game in there.
Musselman said Sunday’s game will be played in four eight-minute quarters and “divided randomly” with defections possible throughout.
“”There definitely can be some trades made at any point of the game,” Musselman said. “What we’re looking for is different combinations that might work well together or maybe some combinations that don’t work well together. We’re still in an evaluation process. We’re still completely in the evaluation process with these guys.”
Off their 25-7 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight team of 2020-21 the Razorbacks return five players: Guards JD Notae, Devo Davis, and KK Robinson and centers Jaylin Williams and Connor Vanover.
They are joined through the transfer portal by 6-6 guards/forwards Stanley Umude via the University of South Dakota; Au’Diese Toney of the University of Pittsburgh; forwards Trey Wade, of Wichita State, Kamani Johnson, University of Arkansas-Little Rock; guards Chris Lykes, University of Miami, and Jaxson Robinson, Texas A&M.
Musselman said several including Williams, Johnson, and KK Robinson (mending from last season’s broken foot) have been limited by injury.
Only one, Wade recovering from a September knee injury expected then to sideline him from four to six weeks, definitely won’t play Sunday, Musselman said.
Sunday’s game starts successive basketball Sundays. The Razorbacks on Oct. 24 at Walton Arena will play an exhibition game against East Central (Okla.) University.
With the Razorbacks football team having an open date after these next two Saturdays hosting Auburn at Reynolds Razorback Stadium and Oct. 23 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock hosting the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Golden Lions, Musselman’s men will play their final exhibition on Saturday, Oct. 30 at Walton against a small college opponent to be announced.