Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
One-and dones, portal now the norm
Arkansas guard Anthony Black (0), guard Nick Smith Jr. (3) and guard/forward Jordan Walsh (13) sit during a timeout, Saturday, March 4, 2023, during the second half of the Razorbacks’ 88-79 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
On Thursday night, Anthony Black and Nick Smith will become instant millionaires.
They are both 19 years old, spent one season playing for Eric Musselman and the Arkansas Razorbacks, and NBA scouts believe they are worthy of being first-round picks and getting three-year guaranteed contracts.
Jordan Walsh and Ricky Council also spent one season on the Muss bus and are projected to go in the second round of the draft, which means they have a legitimate shot at making a roster, but nothing is guaranteed.
Davonte “Devo” Davis also declared for the NBA Draft, but last month he announced he would return to the Razorbacks for his senior season.
Black’s draft stock improved in his one season at Arkansas, moving from the 18-20 pick range to a lottery pick, most likely going at No. 8 to the Washington Wizards.
Smith’s value dropped slightly, but it wasn’t because of the Razorbacks or coaching. He spent most of the season managing a knee issue.
More from WholeHogSports: Black, with NBA All-Star potential, in line to be Hogs' next lottery pick
He appears to be in the No. 19 range, which would put him with the Golden State Warriors, where former Razorbacks guard Moses Moody — another of Muss’ one-and-dones — will be in his third season.
According to the NBA, a No. 8 pick will make in the neighborhood of $14 million for three years, and the No. 19 pick can expect around $8 million.
Walsh, who is 6-7 but has a wingspan of 7-3, giving him a big upside, is tough physically and mentally, although the opinion here is another season under Muss and Co. and he would have been a first-round pick.
Council most likely will be drafted later in the second round, but his 6-9 length and overall athleticism give him a shot at making someone’s roster or G-League team. That league starts players at a little more than $40,000 per year.
The last time the Razorbacks had four players drafted in the same year was 1992, when Lee Mayberry, Todd Day and Oliver Miller went in the first round and Isaiah Morris in the second round.
Those four helped establish Nolan Richardson as a top-shelf coach. Richardson is the only trifecta coach in history, having been selected for the College Basketball Hall of Fame and Basketball Hall of Fame, and earlier this month he was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Foundation Hall of Fame.
College basketball changed in 2003 when Syracuse won the national championship led by Carmelo Anthony, who was a one-and-done.
For several years, coaches resisted recruiting players who would be done after one year while John Calipari was embracing it before others followed suit, including Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.
So it is just the nature of the business for coaches to start each season with almost a new roster. Musselman and his staff never get rattled when someone declares for the draft.
They get it that the sooner a player begins his career, the sooner he gets the second contract, and that’s the one that usually gives them financial security for life.
Despite the comings and goings, the Razorbacks have been successful the past three years making the Elite Eight twice and the Sweet 16 last season.
In the 2021 and 2023 NCAA Tournaments, the Razorbacks lost to eventual national champs Baylor and UConn.
Players moving around — either via the NBA Draft or the transfer portal — is the norm in college basketball and the Razorbacks should have four one-year Hogs drafted with two instant millionaires.
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