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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 27th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Arkansas Razorbacks

 

Overall Rank: #43

Conference Rank: #6 SEC

 

2005-06: 22-10, 10-6, 2nd (t) West

2005-06 postseason: NCAA

 

After continually underachieving, Coach Stan Heath and his Arkansas squad finally made it to the NCAA Tournament last year.  Despite the mass exodus from the backcourt, the Razorbacks have the talent to make a return trip.  Yet, Arkansas will have to depend on newcomers to fill most of the minutes on the perimeter and that is always a scary proposition.

 

Who’s Out: Ronnie Brewer, Jonathan Modica and Dontell Jefferson started most of the games on the perimeter last year, and when Jefferson wasn’t starting, fellow departing senior Eric Ferguson was.  Brewer, who left early for the NBA, averaged 18.4 points, 3.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals.  Modica tacked on 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, but was a liability on defense.  Jefferson wasn’t a dynamic scorer, but developed into a solid point guard who kept the offense under control.

 

Who’s In: Gary Ervin will help ease the pain of all those departures.  The 5-11 point guard averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 assists for Mississippi State two years ago and Coach Heath expects the junior speedster to push the ball up the floor better than anybody could last year.  Patrick Beverley and Sonny Weems are the other two newcomers that should see quality minutes.  Beverley, a 6-1 shooting guard, can fill up the scoring column in multiple ways.  Weems, a junior college transfer, has a great all-around game.  The 6-6 wing can put up ten points a game, grab a few rebounds and play good defense this year.  Shooting guard Stefan Welsh has been overlooked due to the more highly touted incoming guards, but he could play a big role for Arkansas, especially if Coach Heath wants to continue the three guard lineup.  With a little more strength, 6-10 power forward Michael Washington could develop into a premier post player in the SEC.  He’s a great athlete and has the potential to contribute off the bench as a freshman.

 

Who to Watch: Charles Thomas, Darian Townes, Steven Hill and Vincent Hunter are all experienced frontcourt players.  Thomas is a hardworking 6-8 forward and Townes has steadily improved over his first two seasons in Fayetteville.  Townes is a solid post scorer, led the team in rebounding last year and, along with Hill, provides a great defensive presence under the basket.  Hill needs to improve his shooting and rebounding in order to become the all-conference type of player his high expectations warranted coming into the program.  But the 7-0 center is too talented in the shot blocking department to keep on the bench.  Hunter has battled injuries much of his career, but, if he can stay healthy, there won’t be a drop off in talent when the 6-10 junior gives the starters a rest.

 

Final Projection: Sophomore Sean McCurdy has the most returning experience of anybody in the Arkansas backcourt, despite averaging just 7.7 minutes per game as a freshman.  He’s a solid floor leader with a nice shot from long range, but the newcomers may prevent McCurdy from being anything else but a roleplayer.  Ervin, Beverley and Weems won’t be able to spend time adjusting to life at Arkansas.  They will all be asked to contribute immediately.  That’s not a problem for Ervin, but the level of competition will be greatly increased for Beverley and Weems.  If it takes too long for them to come around, the Razorback perimeter will struggle.  If they are playing like veterans by March, this will be an NCAA team the opposition won’t want to see in their bracket.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Gary Ervin, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

Patrick Beverley, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season

Charles Thomas, Junior, Forward, 9.7 points per game

Darian Townes, Junior, Forward, 9.5 points per game

Steven Hill, Junior, Center, 3.0 points per game

44 BYU » Complete List » 42 Texas Tech

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