The following excerpt comes from Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the “bible” of college basketball now in its 32nd printing. Edited by SEC Digital Network contributor Chris Dortch, Blue Ribbon is a 400-page preview that features full stories on 345 Division I teams. To order a copy, go to www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com or call 877-807-4857.
Key returning player: B.J. Young (6-2, SO, SG)
Young delivered an outstanding debut season. Not quite good enough to follow his old friendly St. Louis adversary, former Florida guard Bradley Beal, into the NBA draft, but promising. In addition to being chosen to some All-SEC teams, Young made the All-SEC freshman team in a good year for rookies around the league.
Young can score in a variety of ways. He’s not a classic 3-point shooter, but he wills the ball into the hole from behind the arc (.413, 50 of 121). He’s not the strongest dude around, but he gets into the lane and either scores (.504 FG) or gets fouled. Last season he attempted 113 free throws, tops on the team, and shot .743 from the line.
Young racked up six 20-point games, the fourth most by a Razorback freshman since 1989-90. His 31 points against Florida marked only the third time in school history a freshman scored 30 ore more. Young also torched Connecticut for 28 and came up with an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double against Utah Valley.
About the only knock on Young was a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. He handed out 73 assists but tossed the ball away 74 times.
“He’s a guy that can score,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “And this year, he’s gotten a lot stronger and has put on a few pounds. You can also see that he’s beginning to trust other guys with the ball.”
Key newcomer: Coty Clarke (6-7, JR, F)
The Hogs have a strong candidate to take over at the three/four spot—6-7, 225-pound Coty Clarke. A year ago, the native of Antioch, Tenn. averaged a double-double (12.8 ppg, 12.1 rpg) for Lawson State (Ala.) Community College. He was No. 2 among JUCO players in rebounding.
“He’s got a great nose for the ball in terms of rebounding,” Anderson said. “He knows how to score, and I’m impressed with his passing ability.”
Clarke was the Hogs’ second-leading scorer and rebounder in Italy.