Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

November 9, 2012

Anderson eyes fast start in 2nd year with Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Mike Anderson can't say for sure how far he thinks Arkansas will go this season.

What the second-year Razorbacks coach can say is he has a team much more molded to his pressing, up-tempo style - one he hopes can break the school's streak of four straight missed NCAA tournaments.

Arkansas opens its regular season on Friday night against Sam Houston State, and all eyes in the state will be on Anderson's revamped and reloaded roster. It is one Anderson had a sneak peak at during a four-game European exhibition series during the summer, and one he expects to be more athletic and attacking.

"This team is going to be a work in progress,'' Anderson said. "They're going to take some steps forward, and every now and then take a step back. But I just like the work ethic, the mindset, at this point in time.''

The Razorbacks feature seven new players this season after finishing a disappointing 18-14 last season. That team began the season quickly before losing nine of its final 12 games, the product of a series of injuries that left Arkansas with as few as eight scholarship players at times.

Depth shouldn't be a problem this season for the Razorbacks, though they will be without leading scorer BJ Young for Friday's opener. The talented sophomore guard was suspended two games for violating team rules earlier this week, missing Arkansas' final exhibition game as well as the opener.

Young's absence would have been a concern for last season's depleted roster but not this year.

Led by the return of forward Marshawn Powell and an athletic new-look backcourt, the Razorbacks won their two exhibition games by an average of 47 points. Powell, who missed all but the first two games last season because of a torn knee ligament, scored an average of 11.5 points in the games - providing another boost of optimism for a team that's already quietly confident.

The 6-foot-7 Powell averaged 19.5 points per game last season before the injury to his right knee. He played sparingly during the summer trip to Italy, during which Arkansas was 4-0 against teams from the host country and Lithuania, but has looked like his old self during practice the last month.

"This is what he's worked to get toward,'' Anderson said. "I'm sure he's looking forward to getting out on the floor and playing in a real game.

"... A lot of guys would give in after they've been injured a couple of times, but here's a guy who's been injured, and each time has fought to get back. Now he's a lot older, so hopefully this is his time.''

The Razorbacks were outrebounded by a Southeastern Conference-worst 3.8 rebounds per game last season, and Anderson had hoped to provide an interior boost this season with the addition of Houston transfer and Arkansas native Alandis Harris.

However, the 6-6 forward - who averaged 13.3 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Cougars last season - was denied immediate eligibility by the NCAA during the preseason, and must sit out this season.

Arkansas will place its interior hopes on Powell, 6-11 sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson, and junior-college transfer Coty Clarke this season. Mickelson was fourth in the SEC in blocked shots last season, averaging 2.2 per game, and his expectations are high this year - thanks to a comfort level in his second season under Anderson.

"There's probably more confidence now because everybody, as far as the older guys, kind of knows what to expect,'' Mickelson said.

The Razorbacks also feature four freshmen - Michael Qualls, Jacorey Williams, DeQuavious Wagner and Anthlon Bell - who have performed well during the preseason. Qualls provided several highlight-worthy dunks during the two exhibition games, and Bell averaged 14 points per game on 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

Regardless of who plays how much, and with or without Young, Arkansas expects to start its season quickly on Friday night. After that, the Razorbacks hope to build toward being an SEC contender.

"We still have a ways to go,'' junior guard Mardracus Wade said. "Right now, I don't think we're ready yet, but we've got to keep on working and get these young guys ready.

"I think once we get this all together, it's going to be crazy out there.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Southwest Baptist slips past NSU, 5-3

     The Northeastern State baseball team lost 5-3 to Southwest Baptist Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
     
    The RiverHawks (19-22, 15-18 MIAA) held a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but a late rally from the Bearcats (23-18, 19-13 MIAA) and costly errors from the visitors allowed the home team to secure the series-opening triumph.

    April 18, 2014

  • WOMEN'S TENNIS: Conference champion NSU lands top seed in MIAA tourney

    The No. 31-ranked Northeastern State women's tennis team has drawn the top seed in the 2014 MIAA Women's Tennis Championship, the league announced Thursday morning.

    April 18, 2014