Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Anderson knows Wade’s time coming
Mardracus Wade, pictured during Arkansas' Dec. 4 game against Oklahoma, has struggled with his shot this season.
FAYETTEVILLE So far in this young basketball season, Marshawn Powell, BJ Young and even walk-on reserve Kikko Haydar have stepped up big into the scoring limelight for Arkansas.
Some game soon, Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson predicts Mardracus Wade will, too.
The junior starting guard still does plenty of good things. Wade made four steals in the loss to now No. 2 Michigan and scored 13 against Arizona State and 10 against Oklahoma, but that giant threepoint shooting leap Wade achieved as a sophomore hasn’t accelerated in his third season.
Wade made 70 of 147 three-pointers last season. He hit just 9 of 44 two seasons ago. Wade has hit 8 of 23 three-pointers so far this season, and has made 17 of 41 overall going into Thursday night’s game against Robert Morris at Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
That all OK, but it’s not like last season.
“Mardracus is probably ready to break out,” Anderson said Monday on his radio show. “We have got some guys that can knock some shots down. Anthlon Bell, Dee Wagner, Mardracus, even BJ — it’s a just a matter of time before they start knocking shots down.”
Anderson was asked Tuesday about his premonition that Wade’s shots would hit their mark in a big way in one of these four nonconference games before Arkansas opens SEC play Jan. 9 at Texas A&M.
The coach said he thinks Wade’s opportunities will increase as defenses swarm Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell, who has scored 88 points his past 111 minutes and has made 11 of 22 three-pointers this season. He said he also thinks more of Wade’s chances if Wade thinks less about his shooting and just shoots it.
“With Mardracus, it has to be less thinking,” Anderson said. “A lot of times he will have a shot and he will pump fake himself out of it.”
No point faking a defender already apt to peel off and help against Powell or Young, who has made only 5 of 23 three-pointers this season but is averaging 16.4 points a game.
“Marshawn is playing well and you have got to pay attention to that,” Anderson said. “ So he is going to draw some double teams at times. Hunter Mickelson is knocking down the mid-range shots and playing with a lot of confidence. So you get him playing well, and BJ presents such a problem attacking, it’s just a matter of time before Dracus is going to be a guy ending up wide open. He just has got to knock them down.
“He has been shooting the ball a little better in practice, and hopefully that is a carryover in the game.”
Junior reserve guard Rickey Scott also has been quietly putting together his game with 10 points against Michigan and 5 points, 3 assists, 1 steal and no turnovers in a 97-59 rout over Alcorn State. He also expects a big game from Wade in the near future.
“He’s in the gym after practice every day and before,” Scott said. “It’s going to come.”
Sports, Pages 14 on 12/19/2012