The Recruiting Guy:

Hogs making most of social media opportunities

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Friday, December 6, 2019
Arkansas men's basketball coach Eric Musselman is shown during a game against North Texas on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by David Beach
Arkansas men's basketball coach Eric Musselman is shown during a game against North Texas on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Fayetteville.

University of Arkansas men's basketball Coach Eric Musselman's personality is like an open book, and that has translated to the Razorbacks having a very strong social media presence to promote the program.

After spending time as head coach of teams in the CBA, USBL, NBA Developmental League and NBA, Musselman learned the importance of promotion.

"My dad has been doing it for most of his career stemming from the minor leagues where you have to kind of push the envelope when it comes to marketing and getting butts in the seats," said the Razorbacks' director of recruiting Michael Musselman.

Musselman grew up seeing his father's openness and love of people.

"When you're in the NBA it's a little bit more business oriented, and then when you get to college you get to have a little bit more fun," Musselman said. "When you're on the court, it's all business, but off the court you can have some fun with it. You can make work enjoyable. I think his openness really shows he's a normal dude."

"He's as open as anyone. It can create some variability, and it opens you up to a little bit of criticism, but I think at the end of the day it's definitely a positive thing. I think it's better way of living life instead of being all reserved."

In addition to the Twitter accounts of the coaches, support staff and Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball, the Hogs have added a We Are Arkansas account on Twitter and coachmuss.com. Martina Wood is in her first year as director of multimedia and special projects.

"It's more of our recruiting social media platform," Michael Musselman said of We Are Arkansas. "Martina came up with the name to be a little bit different. We put a lot of content out on coachmuss.com."

Wood has recreated scenes for the players often reserved for NBA superstars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

"One of the really cool things she's done since she's been here is taken things from the NBA and done some photo shoots for the guys walking into the arena," Musselman said.

Often a recruit and his family have limited opportunities to visit a school leading up to a college decision. The Hogs' utilization of social media tries to make the decision to be a Razorback easier.

"I think it shows a different side of our program," Musselman said. "It's awesome for prospects and their parents and families to see a different side of a coach. These kids go on visits, and they see one side of people sometimes. Ninety-nine percent of recruiting is done when recruits aren't on campus.

"If we can pull the curtain back a little bit and let the fans see some behind the scenes stuff and see as much as possible, that's a way better way of going about things than be secretive or hide what you're doing.

"I think the fans deserve it. They're such a big part of what we do here. We're so thankful for everything they do and all the support they show to our staff and student-athletes. I think it's great that we can give back a little bit."

Brainstorming for new ideas involves Musselman, his father, director of basketball operations Anthony Ruta, video coordinator Riley Hall and recruiting coordinator Pat Ackerman. They scan Twitter accounts of teams in other sports.

"Every night we have a group text and we're shooting ideas whether it be like D-league teams, the FIBA teams, we're going through NHL teams, minor league baseball teams and we're just shooting ideas of what we can do next on social media," Musselman said.

The staff celebrates a commitment or signing with each staff member posting a video with a hash tag devoted to each prospect. Guard Khalen Robinson's was #cominghome, forward Jaylin Williams' was #HoopingAtHome and shooting guard Moses Moody's was #itstime. When guard Davonte Davis signed with the Hogs on Nov. 19, the staff posted videos with #IBelieveIn3.

"Signing Devo Davis was huge step for our program," Musselman said. "He was our first high school guy. He's really bought in, and for us to do those videos and kind of market him a little bit, I think that was awesome for him."

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 12/06/2019

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