Mike Anderson taking his Razorbacks to Spain - The Mena Star: Sports

Mike Anderson taking his Razorbacks to Spain

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Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:05 pm

Judging by Monday’s summer SEC basketball coaches’ teleconference, every coach should seize the every four years’ chance to take their team on an international basketball tour. Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson takes his Razorbacks for games Spain in August and will  start 10 days of pre-Spain practice around July 25, Anderson said Monday. Texas A&M, the surprise SEC champion of 2015-2016, toured Italy last summer.

Did that tour help the Aggies win the SEC? “I think so,” A&M Coach Billy Kennedy said Monday. “Being healthy is a bigger issue but it definitely helped our team get to know each other.” “Getting to Know You” could be the theme song for Anderson’s Razorbacks.  The team, already assembled on campus and taking summer school courses has three, guards Jalyn Bradford and Daryl Macon and forward Arlando Cook, that were graduating junior college this spring while guards RJ Glasper, the recruited walk-on from Forrest City, and scholarship freshmen forwards Adrio Bailey and  Brachen Hazen and guard C.J. Jones were still graduating high school. 

“Any time you get those guys time on the floor together we always talk about developing in the offseason,” Anderson said.  “And so that’s taking place. And then to have those 10 practices starting some time around the 25th or 26th of July for those workouts. Just get prepared for the trip and get a little  snapshot of our basketball team as we are getting ready for this trip and play in some of those games.”

Anderson plans to try a lot of players in a lot of roles as the newcomers and forward Dustin Thomas, redshirted in 2015-2016 having transferred from Colorado, will be meshed with senior returnees Moses Kingsley, the center as much improved as anyone in last season’s SEC, shooting guard Dusty Hannahs and defensive super sub Manuale Watkins junior forward and Forrest City High grad Trey Thompson and junior point guard/ North Little Rock High grad Anton Beard.

“We will wholesale substitute and just see what these guys can do,” Anderson said.  “So it’s kind of a sneak preview on some of the things we will be able to work on in the fall leading up to the nonconference schedule. So it’s going to be used to our advantage. The years before we used this trip to help us in terms of what we can become.” Anderson, starting his sixth year as Arkansas’s coach and a 17-year assistant for former Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson from 1985-2002,  did say social media has given his Hogs a bonding head start over past Arkansas teams in similar situations.

“I think these guys are bonding together and were before they came on campus with texting and social media,” Anderson said.  “They really have been in contact with one another and I think that has made the transition of getting to know each other even that much better. The more this team gets to know each other on and off the floor it helps in those moments on the floor when we need to make something happen they know what guys bring to the table.”

The three junior college transfers come highly touted, but Anderson said there is always a learning curve for juco transfers. “Any time you go from one level to the next level it’s a big-time difference,” Anderson said.  “I think the several months as well as these games will give these guys opportunity to see the speed and quickness of the game and the strength.” He still expects Barford, Macon and Cook to more than hold their own.

“Jalyn Barford, I think, brings a level of toughness,  a guy that can really handle the basketball and take command out there on the floor,’ Anderson said.  “He can get deep in the possession and have the capability to score and he’s a guy that’s 6-3.” And Macon, formerly of Little Rock Parkview before attending Holmes Junior College?

“Macon no question about it is a scorer, a guy that talks,” Anderson said.  “It wouldn’t surprise me if he became a leader on this basketball team.  And Arlando Cook is a utility guy, he does a lot of different things. So it will be interested how they play their abilities and talents at this level.”

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