2009-2010 Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball Preview
The Razorbacks of Arkansas (14- 16 overall, 2- 14 SEC) fell off the map last year after making three straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. They finished last in the SEC West and spent the post-season watching the tournaments at home. This team will be better than last season’s as an experienced starting five return for another season with third-year coach John Pelphrey.
The team’s defense was terrible last year, earning a ranking of 12th. They allowed 73.8 PPG. Their offense was rated fifth, scoring an average of 74.6 PPG. Overall, the offense was dismal being rated ninth in field goal percentage (.438) and in free throw shooting (.651). The Razorbacks were tenth in shots from downtown, hitting them 33% of the time. Their plus-1.7 rebound margin was worth a rating of sixth in the SEC.
The best news for the front men is the return of forward/center Michael Washington (15.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 0.9 APG), who had originally opted to enter the NBA Draft. He led the SEC in rebounding and his inside point production was prolific. Sophomore forward Michael Sanchez (5.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.7 APG) is a tough player with decent free throw stats. Of the freshmen, Marshawn Powell has a big frame that can bag inside. Seven-foot center Anthony Borden will need to add weight and muscle to be a factor.
Point guard Courtney Fortson (14.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.9 APG) led all college freshmen last season in assists. In his first season, he proved to be a fine leader and excellent passer. He needs to improve his shot selection. Rotnei Clarke (12.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.1 APG) hit 39.3% from downtown last season. His free throws connected 93.5% of the time. He was another top frosh performer last season. Marcus Britt (3.7 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.2 APG) is a fine defensive presence. Senior Stefan Welsh (11.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.1 APG) hit only 36.1% of his shots and 63.3% from the charity stripe. That’s deplorable.
For this club to be competitive they must do some basic things
much better. First, the Razorbacks must be better at shot selection.
Next, they have to convert free throws. Finally, they have to
vastly improve their perimeter “D.” For coach Pelphrey
it’s about getting this team on the same page and getting
them to play as a team. They look like a fifth-place team headed
for the NIT. Next year, with a decent incoming class, they should
be even better.