Arkansas basketball

2019-20 season review: Jeantal Cylla

Arkansas forward Jeantal Cylla looks to make a pass in Arkansas' 79-64 win over Arkansas-Little Rock on Sunday Oct. 20, 2019 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

The eighth in a nine-part series reviewing Arkansas basketball in 2019-20.

Jeantal Cylla

Position: Forward

Class: Senior (Graduate transfer)

Height: 6-7

Weight: 215

Stats: 1.0 points, 1.4 rebounds, .1 assists, .1 blocks, .1 steals

28.6 percent FG, 36.4 percent 2-point FG, 15.4 percent 3-point FG, 53.8 percent free throws

Per 40: 5.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, .8 assists, .8 blocks, .6 steals

SEC stats: .8 points, 1.1 rebounds, .2 assists, .2 steals

30.0 percent FG, 28.6 percent 2-point FG, 33.3 percent 3-point FG, 55.6 percent free throws

SEC home (totals): 0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals,

0 for 3 FG; 0 for 1 3-point FG; 0 free throw attempts

SEC road (totals): 12 points, 14 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 assists

3 for 7 FG; 2 for 5 2-point FG; 5 of 9 on free throws

Best month: November - 2.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, .4 blocks

30.4 percent FG, 46.2 percent 2-point FG, 10.0 percent 3-point FG, 50.0 percent free throws

Worst month: February - .8 points, .8 rebounds, .2 steals

25.0 percent FG, 33.3 percent 2-point FG, 80.0 percent free throws


• Could rebound in bunches in short stints. I think we all understand Jeantal Cylla did not have the final college season that he had hoped for, but this was by far his best asset. He could be a productive rebounder for a team that really struggled in that area throughout the season. According to KenPom analytics, Cylla rebounded nearly 18 percent of available defensive rebounds when he was on the floor this year, and that figure jumped to 18.5 in SEC play.

He grabbed a season-high six rebounds in the season opener against Rice, five at Ole Miss in Arkansas' comeback win and four against TCU. Cylla also grabbed four boards against South Dakota in the Razorbacks' first semi-test of the year. Another example of him hitting the glass as best he could came at Alabama when he played just one minute but grabbed two rebounds. Every little thing matters when you're trying to win away from home.

• Played OK at times. Cylla did not have a standard breakout game at Arkansas, but he did flash from time to time. He scored a season-high seven points and grabbed three rebounds against South Dakota in November, then at Ole Miss he gave great energy off the bench with five boards in 11 first-half minutes. If he could have made more than 1 of 4 free throws he may have seen more action that day.

Cylla played probably his best game on the road at Mississippi State on Jan. 22, scoring five points. He buried a transition 3 from the corner and finished a nice step-through move in the lane. Eric Musselman commended his defense on Reggie Perry as well, noting that Cylla was effective playing underneath the powerful 6-10 forward. He made only 1 of his final 7 shots the rest of the season, though.

• Good teammate. In an interview with Jimmy Whitt back in January, I asked him how Cylla, a fellow graduate transfer, was handling playing a different role than he likely envisioned when he committed to Arkansas on April 20, 2019. He said Cylla was always upbeat, never hung his head and worked every day. He played 28 minutes per game in his last season at UNC-Wilmington but saw his run dwindle to seven per game this season. That can't be easy to deal with, but we never heard of any attitude issues with him. He celebrated his teammates' success regularly.


• Playmaking. In his first three college seasons, Cylla was not a high-assists player. He recorded a career-high 18 in his lone season at UNC-Wilmington in 930 minutes played. He finished with just four at Arkansas over 200-plus minutes and did not have one in his first 119 minutes on the floor (14 games played).

Also, we did not see Cylla really attempt to get to the rim after catching on the perimeter. Shortly after he committed to the Razorbacks, I reached out to a reporter who covered him at UNC-Wilmington, seeking insight on his game. He wrote that Cylla was "a big guy capable of going inside off the dribble." That never came to the forefront in his time in the lineup here. To me, it seemed as if he did not even consider creating offense on the perimeter a majority of the time. He would often catch, survey and run in the direction of a teammate and hand the ball off.

According to KenPom, Cylla finished the season with an offensive rating of 67.5. Point guard Jalen Harris was next to last at 94.1.

• Turnovers. Some of them were headscratchers, too, especially the one at the end of the Vanderbilt game when Arkansas was just milking clock in the final minutes. He caught out top and launched a wild pass that missed the mark by several feet and went out of bounds. He just seemed a bit unsure with the ball in his hands, in my opinion.

Cylla committed six turnovers in Arkansas' first three games against Rice, North Texas and Montana - 3 vs. Montana. It was after that game that his minutes began to decline through the remainder of 2019. He posted a turnover rate of 24.3 percent, per KenPom, which is not great considering he played just 15.5 percent of available minutes.

• Inefficient offensively. This point was brought up to me last April when putting together my analysis of what could be expected of Cylla, and it held true at Arkansas. Early in the season, he had a couple of games in which he went 2 of 5 and 2 of 6 from the floor on 2-point attempts. Against Rice in his Arkansas debut, he missed four shots in the lane.

For the season, according to my shot chart data, he finished 8 of 18 attempts in the lane and was 8 of 14 at the rim. In the first two months of 2020, he made 2 of 6 shots in the paint.

Cylla did not impress from 3-point range when the opportunity presented itself. He finished 2 of 13 from deep, and both makes came in the left corner. Cylla was 0 of 4 on the left wing and 0 of 3 in the right corner as well. I had him, too, at 0 of 7 on 2-point attempts outside the lane. Coming in, I was told the 10-15 foot jumper was his bread and butter, but that did not materialize.

Extra points

On floor: Offense (427 poss.) - .97 PPP, 15.7 percent TO rate, 46.5 percent 2FG; Defense (425 poss.) - .84 PPP, 18.1 percent TO rate, 17.0 percent 3FG

Off floor: Offense (1,673 poss.) - 1.01 PPP, 15.3 percent TO rate, 51.9 percent 2FG; Defense (1,683 poss.) - .94 PPP, 21.9 percent TO rate, 31.1 percent 3FG

Best Cylla quote: "They know way more than I do and have a ton of experience, and it’s really an honor to be a part of this team with these coaches." - From an interview with WholeHogSports last July

Best quote on Cylla: "He actually did a real good job on him, although you would think from a height standpoint (he wouldn't). But Cylla got underneath him instead of playing upright, and I thought that underneath defense was probably as effective as anybody." - Eric Musselman on his forward's defense on Mississippi State's Reggie Perry

Season review series

Part 1: Desi Sills

Part 2: Isaiah Joe

Part 3: Adrio Bailey

Part 4: Mason Jones

Part 5: Jalen Harris

Part 6: Reggie Chaney

Part 7: Ethan Henderson