Razorback Basketball Report: Black to see another friend on court

By: Bob Holt Bob Holt's Twitter account
Published: Saturday, February 4, 2023
South Carolina's Gregory "GG" Jackson and Arkansas' Anthony Black are shown handling the basketball during games in the 2022-23 season. (AP Photos/Sean Rayford & Michael Woods)
South Carolina's Gregory "GG" Jackson and Arkansas' Anthony Black are shown handling the basketball during games in the 2022-23 season. (AP Photos/Sean Rayford & Michael Woods)

FAYETTEVILLE — Anthony Black and GG Jackson were teammates on Team USA when it won the gold medal at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in June at Tijuana, Mexico.

Today Black and Jackson will be on opposite teams as two of the country’s top college freshmen when the University of Arkansas plays South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.

Black, a 6-7 point guard from Coppell, Texas, is the only Razorback to start all 22 games this season and he’s averaging 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

Jackson, a 6-9 forward from Columbia, S.C., also has started all 22 games for his hometown Gamecocks and is averaging 16.1 points and 6.6 rebounds.

“Me and GG, we talk every now and then,” Black said. “The thing about him is he’s super tall and long and has a guard-like skill set.

“He’s pretty young. So he’s just a special talent, and he’s a good kid, too. He was cool to be around.”

Jackson was born on Dec. 17, 2004, so he just recently turned 18. Black turned 19 on Jan. 20.

“Anthony’s probably one of the best facilitators in college basketball right now as a freshman,” Jackson said at SEC Media Day in October. “His size is a big factor in his game, and he’s super athletic.

“I think people sleep on his athleticism. He definitely can get up.”

This will be the second consecutive Saturday that Black has played against a superstar freshman he knows on a personal level.

Last week Baylor freshman guard Keyonte George scored 24 points in the Bears’ 67-64 victory over the Razorbacks. Black had 7 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists despite suffering a bruised knee early in the game.

George is from Lewisville, Texas — 11 miles from Coppell. He said he’s known Black since the sixth grade.

“It’s super fun always, playing against somebody you know,” Black said. “It’s fun, yeah, but it’s also a little bit of competition.

“You don’t ever know how many times you’re going to get to play against one of your best friends or one of the people you’re close with. So all you can do is just try to have fun and compete, and then go back to just being cool and brothers after the game.”

Black, George and Jackson all are projected as first-round NBA Draft picks.

No Nick update

Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman said Thursday there continues to be no update on when freshman guard Nick Smith, who has been dealing with a knee injury, might be able to play again.

Smith, a projected NBA Draft lottery pick, missed the first six games, played in five and now has missed the past 11. He did not make the trip to Columbia, S.C., for today’s game.

Carter’s knee

South Carolina senior starting guard Chico Carter played a season-low 12 minutes in Mississippi State’s 66-51 victory over the Gamecocks on Tuesday night.

Carter, who is averaging 10.5 points and 31.2 minutes per game, didn’t attempt a shot, came out of the game with 17:53 left in the second half and didn’t return.

South Carolina Coach Lamont Paris said Carter was held out because of tendonitis in his knee.

Devo stays hot

Arkansas junior guard Davonte “Devo” Davis scored a season-high 19 points in the Razorbacks’ 81-70 victory over Texas A&M on Tuesday night to extend his streak of games with at least 16 points to seven.

Davis is averaging 16.9 points in that seven-game stretch and has hit 16 of 35 three-point attempts, including a career-high 4 in 8 attempts against the Aggies.

“It’s just me putting in the work,” Davis said. “I put it in every single day. Wake up, go to the gym. Before I go to sleep, go to the gym.

“I’m just going to continue to put in the work, and hopefully it continues to show like I’ve been seeing.”

Dominant defense

Arkansas has held its past three opponents — LSU, Baylor and Texas A&M — to a combined 31.7% shooting (60 of 189) from the field.

LSU shot 14 of 54, Baylor 20 of 59 and Texas A&M 26 of 76.


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