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 a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year three times.
Musselman finally gets to see newbies
Arkansas men's basketball coach Eric Musselman is shown during a game against North Texas on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Eric Musselman's daily routine includes an intense early morning workout, but the University of Arkansas basketball coach said he needs to gain more abdominal strength after seeing freshman Davonte Davis.
"I have to get on Devo's ab routine," Musselman said last week. "Whatever he's doing with his abs, I'm not doing, and would like to get that workout he's been doing for several months."
Musselman finally was able to see the Razorbacks' freshmen in person for the first time in several weeks when they moved into their dormitory rooms.
Arkansas' athletic facilities had been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic but began reopening June 8 when athletes who play fall semester sports and were in school during the spring were allowed to begin voluntary workouts. The arrival of the freshmen three weeks later was part of a gradual process of athletes returning to campus.
Davis, a 6-4 guard from Jacksonville who was the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Boys Basketball Player of the Year, was among four freshmen who reported to the UA campus June 26 and began voluntary workouts June 29.
The freshman class also includes 6-6 guard Moses Moody, who is from Little Rock and played at Monteverde (Fla.) Academy last season; 6-9 forward Jaylin Williams from Fort Smith Northside; and 6-0 guard Khalen "KK" Robinson, who is from Bryant and played at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy last season.
All four freshmen are rated top 100 recruits and the class has a consensus national ranking in the top 10.
Photos of the coaching staff with the freshmen and their families moving in were all over social media. Everyone wore masks as a safety precaution.
"They all look great to be honest with you," Musselman said of the freshmen. "They're all in good shape, especially considering what the times have been like.
"Guys have not been able to do stuff like play pick-up ball and be in the gym for extended periods of time."
Musselman said he was glad to be able to personally welcome the freshmen to campus rather than just see them via a Zoom meeting.
"It was great to see those guys," he said. "We have been away, so there's been a little bit of a disconnect. The Zoom stuff is great, but there is nothing like personal interaction."
The basketball team's freshmen arrived on campus on the same day as the football team's freshmen.
"The football staff was moving in their freshmen, and we were moving in ours," Musselman said. "I think my guys packed a little bit lighter than Coach [Sam] Pittman's group, but it's really a neat time for those players the first week on campus.
"It's obviously an adjustment that first month for guys to be away from their family. It was a special time for them, and we got to spend good time with their moms and dads, as they were there, too."
Davis averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals per game for Jacksonville last season and led the Titans to a 20-5 record.
Williams averaged 18.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocked shots for Northside's 20-10 team.
Moody averaged 11.6 points 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 60.1% from the field, including 46.9% from three-point range, for a Montverde (Fla.) Academy team that went 25-0 and had a consensus national No. 1 ranking.
Robinson averaged 10.7 points, 7.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game to help Oak Hill finish 37-7 and a No. 7 national ranking by ESPN.
The four freshmen are now roommates.
"I think just because these four guys know each other, it's really cool to see them move in together," Musselman said. "It's awesome."
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