Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for the Hawgs Sports Network. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas and previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was the 2022 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Ricky Council declares for 2023 NBA Draft
Arkansas guard Ricky Council IV (1) dunks on Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.(AP Photo/John Amis)
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas basketball wing Ricky Council has declared for the 2023 NBA Draft.
A transfer from Wichita State who led the team in scoring in 2022-23, Council made the announcement Tuesday in a post to his Twitter account. He had two years of college eligibility remaining.
He is the third Razorback to declare for the draft, joining freshman Nick Smith and junior Davonte Davis. Davis is maintaining his college eligibility and might return.
“Transferring and coming to Arkansas was a very hard decision but I want to thank Coach [Eric Musselman], Coach [Gus] Argenal, Coach [Keith] Smart, and the rest of the support staff for making that transition as easy as possible,” Council wrote. “Playing here this year has taught me so much on and off the court and I can truly say I just haven’t grown as a basketball player but also as the person I’m becoming today.”
On March 28, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie projected the 6-6 Council as a second-round pick — No. 43 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Bleacher Report listed Council at No. 34 in a mock draft on April 4, and NBA Draft Room projected him No. 39 overall.
With Smith out much of the season because of knee management, Council assumed a large scoring role for Arkansas. He averaged 16.1 points on 43.3% shooting and 27% from three-point range, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.1 minutes.
Council was second on the team in minutes played (1,229), trailing freshman Anthony Black (1,255).
“All of this is a surprise to me,” Council said in Las Vegas after the Razorbacks’ Sweet 16 loss. “I didn’t believe this would happen. This was my hope of what’s happened this year. And it actually happened. That rarely happens in this life.
“It was all a dream come true. In the next couple of weeks it’ll just start hitting me.”
Council scored a team-high 14.9 points per game in SEC play on 39.6% from the field. He earned All-SEC second-team honors by the league’s coaches and The Associated Press.
The Durham, N.C., native scored in double figures in all but 5 games and had 20-plus points in 11 games. Council finished with 20 or more points 5 times against SEC teams. and had a high of 27 points against Troy in November.
After scoring 12 points in Arkansas’ 2 SEC Tournament games, he averaged 18.7 points in the team’s NCAA Tournament run, including 21 in the second-round win over No. 1 seed Kansas. Council also recorded an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double in the first round against Illinois.
According to Hoop-Math data, Council led the Razorbacks with 96 scores at the rim on 146 attempts (65.8%). He was also 57 of 160 (35.6%) on two-point jump shots.
“Long year,” Council said. “Really special for me personally.”
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