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.
ARKANSAS MEN’S BASKETBALL:
Numbers to keep Arkansas on run
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas’ coaches shouldn’t have to worry about slowing down the tempo in tonight’s Red-White intrasquad basketball game.
Each team has eight players - compared to six a year ago - allowing the coaches to substitute frequently and keep the Razorbacks fresh and running at full throttle on offense and defense.
Tip off is at 7 p.m. in Walton Arena. Admission is free.
“What we’ve really been working on is trying to push the tempo,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “We’re a more athletic team, and we can showcase that in the open floor and with our defense.
“I’ll be anxious to see how these guys hold up in a 40-minute game.”
The players were divided in a draft Monday, and the White team is heavy on experience with juniors Marshawn Powell, Mardracus Wade, Rickey Scott, Coty Clarke, Fred Gulley and Kikko Haydar along with sophomore Davion Spivey and freshman Jacorey Williams.
The Red team has sophomores BJ Young, Hunter Mickelson, Ky Madden and Charlie Henderson, junior Alandise Harris and freshmen Michael Qualls, Athlon Bell and Dee Wagner.
It will be the fans’ only chance to see Harris, a junior forward from Little Rock Central, in a game like setting this season. Harris is redshirting after transferring from Houston and won’t dress for exhibition or regular-season games. Gulley, a junior guard who transferred from Oklahoma State in January, will be eligible to play in early December after the first semester ends.
Anderson said practices have been competitive, and he expects that to be the case tonight, too.
“Obviously, in a Red-White scrimmage, they want to audition in front of me,” he said. “So now you bring in the officials, you bring in some fans. ... It is set up for a good atmosphere. I think the guys are really going to get after it.”
Powell is practicing at close to full speed after missing all but the first two games last season because of a knee injury.
“He’s progressing,” Anderson said. “He hasn’t missed out on anything that we’ve done. That’s a good sign.”
The Razorbacks play their exhibition opener against Southwest Baptist on Friday night, then have a second exhibition game against LeMoyne-Owen on Monday night before opening the regular season against Sam Houston State on Nov. 9.
“Our guys are ready to play someone other than themselves,” Anderson said.
The Razorbacks went through summer practices, which are allowable under a new NCAA rule. Then they had 10 practices in August before playing four exhibition games in Italy, followed by more conditioning workouts and a resumption of practices in mid-October.
“We had a chance to expedite some things because of the Italy trip, and we’ve got some guys that pick up things pretty quick,” Anderson said. “We’re moving in the right direction, but we’ll get a lot more feedback as we get into the games.”
At a glance RED-WHITE GAME WHEN 7 p.m. today WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville ADMISSION Free RED TEAM BJ Young, Hunter Mickelson, Ky Madden, Alandise Harris, Michael Qualls, Athlon Bell, Dee Wagner and Charlie Henderson WHITE TEAM Marshawn Powell, Mardracus Wade, Rickey Scott, Coty Clarke, Fred Gulley, Jacorey Williams, Kikko Haydar and Davion Spivey
Sports, Pages 17 on 10/30/2012