Arkansas fans knew B.J. Young, who averaged 15.3 points last season as a true freshman, could score.
Over the summer, B.J. Young attended two elite camps hosted by LeBron James and Deron Williams.
But the talented guard did more than that Tuesday night in the Razorbacks’ Red-White game at Bud Walton Arena.
Yes, he finished with a game-high 28 points for the Red in an 85-75 win, hitting 13 of 20 from the floor – mostly on drives to the basket. But the 6-3 Young also had five rebounds and four assists.
Anderson said Young, who was named a preseason third-team All-American by Sporting News, looks like an even better player than he was last season when he earned second-team All-SEC honors.
“He was finding Anthlon (Bell) in transition and knocking shots down,” Anderson said. “He’s rebounding the basketball. I put some things in front of him in order to help him become a well-rounded player. He just has a knack for scoring, and that was on display again tonight. He’s such a competitor. It thought his will really helped that team win. Just his will, his intensity, his competitiveness.”
As far as the scoring goes, Young had 10 points at halftime on 5 of 11 shooting. He was 8 of 9 from the field in the second half, scoring eight points in the first 2:40. He played 35 minutes, second only junior forward Marshawn Powell’s 36 minutes.
Junior guard Rickey Scott, who played for the White team, talked about what it was like trying to defend Young.
“He’s just fast,” Scott said. “It’s hard to keep up with him. He’s so fast. All eyes are on him, so he just kicks it out, too, to one of these guys (like Bell).”
Anthlon Bell shot 62.5 percent from three-point range Tuesday night, scoring 19 points.
Bell rings up 19
True freshman guard Bell had some good looks during the Razorbacks’ exhibition tour of Italy, but his shots didn’t fall like the Hogs would have liked.
They sure did Tuesday, though.
Bell started out 4 of 4 from three-point range and finished 5 of 8 from behind the arc, scoring 19 points off the bench in 23 minutes.
“I just had to get my confidence up, getting those extra shots after practice, just believing in the coaches saying that it was going to come, just (the) transition part of it,” Bell said.
“He shot great,” Mickelson said. “He’s got it in him. He’s definitely a great shooter. Like he said, there’s always going to be a transition, and he looks like he’s got the swing back.”
Scott compared Bell to himself, saying Bell’s going through some of the same adjustments he had to go through.
“I knew he could shoot beforehand. He was struggling earlier,” Scott said. “It’s just his confidence. Just like me. They talked about confidence. I believed in him. He’s got to learn to believe in himself and his shot. And that’s what he did tonight. He’s going to have to keep doing that throughout the year.”
Anderson will be coaching against a familiar face Friday night when the Razorbacks play their first exhibition game.
Southwest Baptist Coach Jeff Guiot was former Razorback Jannero Pargo’s coach at Neosho County (Kan.) Community College.
“He’s had some good teams over the years,” Anderson said. “I think they’re Division II, and he’s done well over there.
“He’s been after me for like the last … every year I was at Missouri, he was wanting to play, wanting to play. Now that I’m here at Arkansas, he’s going to have a team that hopefully gives us an opportunity to play someone other than ourselves.”
Southwest Baptist, which went 18-12 overall last season, was picked to finish ninth in the 15-team Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association by league coaches.
Tipoff Friday is 7 p.m. Central. The Hogs’ final exhibition game is Monday against LeMoyne-Owen.
Harris’ ‘tournament game’
Fans got their last look this season at junior forward Alandise Harris in a game-type setting, but he certainly added to the hope for the future.
Harris, who must sit out this season after transferring from Houston, had 10 points and 13 rebounds in 23 minutes for the Red team.
“Had a double-double tonight. He’s a physical presence,” Anderson said. “He’s really skillful. He’s crafty around the basket, can take a step outside. He distributes the basketball. Gets those tough rebounds. So very versatile.
“He’ll have a chance to help us in practice each and every day. This was like his game, this was his tournament game, so to speak. People got a chance to see him perform, and I thought he performed well.”
Kiko a contributor
Junior walk-on guard Kikko Haydar has been a fan favorite since he stepped on the court in 2010, but don’t be surprised if his role this year involves a little more than coming in for mop-up duty.
“He’ll have some minutes. He’ll play some minutes here,” Anderson said. “Because I think he plays the game the right way. He’s a winner. He might be short in stature, but he’s big in heart.”
The 5-10 Haydar had 11 points for the White team, hitting 4 of 7 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from three-point range. He also had two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 21 minutes.
“I admire the guy. You’re absolutely right. He could be playing somewhere for a smaller school,” Anderson said. “But his heart is right here (with) Razorback basketball. I tell you he’s an energizer, and you can see, he’s been shooting the ball well. More than that, I think he’s like a little pest out there. He’s got great basketball IQ.”
Another walk-on, sophomore guard Davion Spivey, also had a nice game. Spivey scored 10 points and had six rebounds in 21 minutes.
Wade goes 1 for 8
Arkansas junior guard Mardracus Wade had a rough game on the offensive end, even though he's known as one of the best long-range shooters in the SEC.
Wade, who led the SEC in three-point percentage last season, finished 1 of 8 from the floor and 0 of 2 from three-point range. The rest of his seven points came from the free-throw line (5 of 6).
But Anderson wasn’t putting too much into Wade’s shooting performance. Or at least, he wasn’t putting much of it on Wade.
“In this particular game here, a lot of his stuff was going to the basket. He didn’t have that many spot-ups in terms of shooting the basketball,” Anderson said. “Part of that, maybe we didn’t get it to him on time. I think some of that also is we didn’t have good ball movement tonight. I didn’t like the ball movement, especially on the White team early on.
“But it think when you put this team together and we play the way that we want to play, then I think you’ll see him hopefully knock some shots down.”
One celeb takes it seriously
The Red-White game’s celebrity coaches are basically there for show. The real coaches usually take over and leave the celebrities on the end of the bench.
Tuesday night, there was an exception.
Former Razorback Pat Bradley, a radio show host in Little Rock, was taking it pretty seriously as one of the coaches of the Red team.
Bradley was seen calling timeouts, drawing up plays – basically, acting like a real coach.
“He had a lot of fun with it, seemed like,” sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson said.