Hogs Reflect on Italy Trip
The Razorback basketball team recently returned from a preseason tour in Italy where they went 4-0 and created bonds they feel will help them perform better as a team on the court.
For now, head coach Mike Anderson said the goal is to allow the players to get re-acclimated with school life, but attention is quickly turning to the upcoming season.
One player many fans are looking forward to seeing back on the court is Marshawn Powell, who was sidelined all of last year with an ACL injury.
“It was good to have Marshawn on the floor,” Anderson said. “I thought he kind of got the cobwebs out. The last game he started really exerting himself.”
“He looked good. That’s one person that I’m not really worried about,” said sophomore BJ Young of Powell. “He works hard, and I’m sure he wants to get back on the court and show everybody that he can come back from (an) injury.”
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the team because of the new players that are expected to contribute this year.
“We’ve got some more pieces to the puzzle,” Anderson said. “The key now is putting those pieces together.”
The Italy trip was the first step in completing the puzzle. Of the 14 players that went on the trip, 12 averaged at least 12 minutes per game, and nobody played more than 22 minutes per game.
One of the new faces that has impressed the most since arriving in Fayetteville is Coty Clarke, a transfer from Lawson State Community College.
“(Coty) is always around the basketball. He just has a great feel for the basketball,” Anderson said. “Coty’s got toughness too. That’s what I like about him. He’s always where the action is. He plays the game the right way. He plays to win.”
“He blocks shots, he gets offensive or defensive rebounds, he has good hands, athletic, he knows the game … he brings a lot to this team,” junior Mardracus Wade said of Clarke.
One thing the team is focused on for the upcoming season is improving the defense. The team did not defend the 3-point shot as well as Anderson would have liked.
Jacorey Williams and Michael Qualls are two freshmen who have shown they are ready to play. Anderson likes the energy and fearlessness that both bring to the team.
Wade feels the time in Italy helped the team to come together and will lead to better team play.
“Once you become a family off the court, it carries onto the court,” Wade said.
The Razorbacks are excited about playing in Bud Walton but are also ready to take another stab at road play, where they look to improve on last year’s dismal 1-11 record.