Before Eric Mussleman took over at Arkansas, Arkansas Basketball was a product of the past. Only amassing 7 NCAA tournament appearances in the 19 years that followed legendary coach Nolan Richardson, Arkansas was reaching mediocrity over their previous success.
However, Eric Mussleman has changed this narrative around Arkansas basketball. By reaching two elite eights in three years of coaching, Mussleman has seemingly put Arkansas Basketball back on the map and this past recruiting cycle has only proved it.
According to 247 Sports, Mussleman has netted Arkansas the second-best recruiting class in the entire country. In this class, Mussleman has landed three five stars including 6’7 Point Guard Anthony Black out of Texas who I’ll be discussing today.
Anthony Black Will Have Big Year for Arkansas Razorbacks
As a 6’7 PG, Anthony Black’s all-around offensive ability mixed with his size should make NBA teams salivate. Black is super fundamental in his approach to the game. Black doesn’t attempt to go for the fancy moves he instead finds success in picking his spots on the floor and working opposing teams.
Black is the carbon definition of a 3-level scorer. Black can beat down defenders by just finishing right through them. Due to his length, Black can embarrass defenders and put the ball right up over them.
In this clip, Black staggers the defender and then uses his body to muscle a bucket through him. This is who Black is as a scorer. He doesn’t play flashy instead he plays within himself and uses his massive frame to his advantage.
Black is also a very high IQ player as well. Due to being a 6’7 PG, Black has a clear advantage over most guards as he can see right over defenders and hit opposing teammates. Blacks size mixed with his knack for getting to the rim opens brand new doors as a creator that cant be opened by most guards.
In this clip, Black just effortlessly gets down into the paint and as the person on #23 switches onto Black he just dumps the ball onto the cutting man.
This is just another reason for how crucial Black’s size really is. A lot of smaller guards cannot match up to Black when moving downhills causing double teams leading to wide-open teammates. With College Basketball spacing, Black has an unfair advantage as he will have capable shooters all throughout the court for him to dish to or Black can simply put his body into the opposing team’s chest for an easy 2 points.
Anthony Black’s Defensive Ability
Black defensively also presented a new challenge for opposing teams. By being a guard, Black plays on the perimeter, and with his long frame and elite footwork, he is able to take away anything for offensive players.
In this clip, the offensive player is trying everything to get through Black. He tries to take him left, but nothing. He tries taking him right, nothing. When Anthony Black is guarding you, you might as well pass it because you are not getting through him.
To make matters worse for future opponents, Black is a monster at protecting the rim. Due to his mixture of length and athleticism, Black is able to rise up with drivers to affect shots at the rim.
These two plays ultimately show how versatile Black is on defense. Black in the first play drops down from the perimeter and effects the baseline cutter. The play as a whole fully encapsulates Black as a player as Black picks up the ball and passes it out to an eventual basket. Black making two plays at once is ultimately who he is as a player. In the second clip, Black shows his athleticism as he rises up to snatch the ball practically from mid-air. The length he has is unreachable and Black certainly has used it to his advantage.
Anthony Black Overview
Overall I think Anthony Black is the ideal PG for today’s NBA. He’s a well-versed scorer and defender whose length makes him impossible to scheme on defense. Black makes opposing players’ nights a living hell on both sides of the ball and to that it makes it even more salivating for future general managers to come. Arkansas has national championship aspirations going into this season and those would only really come into fruition if Anthony Black lives up to expectations.