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.
Highlights from Musselman's press conference on summer workouts
Arkansas coach Eric Musselman speaks Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, during a press conference in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for the photo gallery.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Eric Musselman met with reporters Tuesday to provide updates on the Razorbacks' summer workouts.
Here are some highlights from his time at the podium:
• Musselman said there has been less coaching frustration this year with a more veteran and experienced group. He added there has been one bad practice to this point in the summer and noted this team is really coachable.
The team’s final workout of the summer is Wednesday.
• Musselman said Louisville transfer El Ellis was quiet at first, but he has changed in his verbal leadership and command of the floor.
• Jalen Graham’s practice habits are dramatically different than last year, Musselman said. Graham has done a great job of understanding expectations and following through on his part. He added that Graham’s evolution has been really cool to watch.
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• On the team's freshmen: Baye Fall got here a little later than some other guys. He is a hard worker and spends a lot of time on his own. He can make threes at a much higher clip. Catching the ball in traffic is something we’re working with him on.
Layden Blocker has a very mature approach. Musselman said he didn’t know if he’s been around a player who goes into the weight room and stretches and gets himself mentally prepped to practice like Blocker.
• On Keyon Menifield, who will be a non-scholarship redshirt this season: Super, super talented. Pat Ackerman, who used to be on staff here, watched practice and talked about what a special talent he is. The year has to be about how he can gain weight, get better and gain strength.
• On the Purdue exhibition on Oct. 28: One of the premier programs in the country. As a staff, we wanted to play a top-three team in the nation. Who would be willing to play us? How could we do that in front of the home fans? Todd Lee did a good job working the exhibition game for us. I think it’s going to be a great game for both teams and fan bases. I’m assuming they’re going to be 1, 2 or 3 in the preseason polls.
• Musselman said they are still being overly cautious with Trevon Brazile.
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• On playing Duke at home in November: I would anticipate the Duke game is going to be like when we played Kentucky and Auburn when they’ve been highly ranked. The requests I’ve gotten from friends, a lot of people want to come to that game. Our non-conference, especially Duke, Oklahoma and then three games in Atlantis, will be as tough as this program has played. Between Purdue and Duke, we’ll probably play two of the top three teams in the country in a four-week span.
• On the Oklahoma game: Musselman said he read the report on this site that athletics director Hunter Yurachek said he didn’t expect the game to happen this year. He didn’t think it would either, but they got it worked out. Musselman believes the game is great for everyone involved. He also mentioned that there was some thought to playing the game in Oklahoma City.
• Musselman said that Davonte Davis and Tramon Mark give the team a really strong 1-2 punch on the defensive end. I could tell by his response that he is excited about the tandem defensively and the possibilities there. Musselman added that many college basketball teams’ best scorers are point guards, shooting guards and small forwards.
Arkansas has an answer for lots of teams with those two.
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