It’s hard to believe that the start of basketball practice is just a few days away. Time, it does fly. Seems just like yesterday that the Tar Heels were making mincemeat of the Hogs.
And if you go by the pre-season prognostications, it would seem that lots of teams will be making mincemeat of Arkansas this year. Here at Razorback Expats, we’re not ready to give into the gloom and doom just yet.
Yes, the Hogs have lost a ton of production from last year’s squad. But, there appears to be some real talent among the newcomers, including a few guys who may even be able to shoot the ball, a skill that there hasn’t been an overabundance of in Fayetteville in recent years.
To some extent, the situation reminds me of the fall of 1992. Back then, the Hogs had lost of ton of seniors (albeit ones that were much more accomplished than Weems, Ervin, Hill, et al.). The incoming recruiting class was fairly well-regarded, but, overall, the team was deemed too small and too inexperienced to pose much of a threat that season.
The returning player with the highest scoring average, point guard Robert Shepherd, had averaged a whopping 6.7 points per game the previous season. The best-case scenario seemed to be an NIT invitation.
The result? Seniors Shepherd and Darrell Hawkins and newcomers Scotty Thurman, Corliss Williamson, Corey Beck and Dwight Stewart—to name just some of the heroes from that year—busted their asses, embraced Nolan Richardson’s full-court-pressure style of play like no Hog team before or since, and made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
If I had to pick any Hog season as my favorite, this would be the one (although picking my favorite Razorback basketball season is a little like picking my favorite Beatles album, i.e., an agonizingly difficult decision).
The 1992-93 season started off with a bang when the unranked Hogs defeated No. 8 Memphis State (the team that had ended the careers of Todd Day, Lee Mayberry and Oliver Miller several months earlier) after rallying from a 20-point deficit. Four days later, they defeated No. 9 Arizona in Tucson. Surely they’re playing over their heads, many thought. Surely they aren’t this good.