Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Young to make return from suspension Sunday
BJ Young will return from a two-game suspension when Arkansas hosts Longwood on Sunday.
FAYETTEVILLE It’s been a long break between games for the Arkansas men’s basketball team, but even longer for BJ Young, the Razorbacks’ All-SEC sophomore guard.
Young had to watch Arkansas’ second exhibition game and regular-season opener, in which Arkansas struggled to beat Sam Houston State 73-68 last Friday night, while serving a two-game suspension for breaking an undisclosed team rule.
While Sunday’s game at Walton Arena against Longwood will represent a nine day break between games for the Razorbacks, it will be Young’s first game since the exhibition opener Nov. 2 against Southwest Baptist.
“I think our guys are champing at the bit to get back on the court and play someone other than ourselves,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “BJ’s probably more wound up than even they are.
“I think he’s hungry to get back on the court.”
Young wasn’t available for interviews Thursday, but his teammates said they are excited to have him back for Sunday’s game.
“Man, we need him,” junior guard Rickey Scott said. “He just spreads the floor a lot, and he can attack the lanes and kick out. He just attacks, and that’s what we need.”
Junior guard Mardracus Wade called Young “the glue” for the Razorbacks.
“He’s very important,” Wade said. “It’s always good to have him out there at all times because of the things he can do and the things he can create for us. If we need a bucket, we can get the ball to him, and he just gives us more encouragement.”
Young averaged a team high 15.3 points per game last season, including 16.4 in SEC games, and led the Razorbacks in scoring in 17 games. He had a career-high 31 points against Florida.
“Everybody knows BJ can score the ball at a tremendous rate,” junior forward Marshawn Powell said. “He brings that energy back for us.
“I think it hurt him to miss the first game, but I know he’s coming back stronger.”
Young continued to practice with the Razorbacks and take part in all team functions, except games, during his suspension.
“He’s been taking practice like it’s a game every day,” Wade said. “He’s been coming in here and playing hard and getting up extra shots. I know he’s been talking about getting back on the court and the things he’s improved on, so I’m very excited for him.”
Anderson said he’ll be glad to see the Razorbacks playing at full strength.
“We feel like we’ve got some weapons,” Anderson said. “Now hopefully, we’ve got a whole arsenal.”
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/16/2012