FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson’s return to Mizzou Arena is the juicy storyline when the Razorbacks play Missouri tonight.
But Anderson isn’t the only Razorback preparing for a homecoming.
Guard BJ Young, a St. Louis native, is playing in his home state for the first time since high school. Young said Monday he’s looking forward to the experience.
“I know we had a good game when we played them (Feb. 16), so it will probably be a fun atmosphere for us,” Young said. “I’m going to have a lot of family members from what I usually have on the road."
There’s no doubt Young will be a marked man tonight. The sophomore played a big role in Arkansas’ 73-71 win against the Tigers on Feb. 16, scoring seven points in the final 30 seconds. It included two three-point plays, helping the Hogs erase a four-point deficit and remain unbeaten in SEC home games.
Young did it again in Arkansas’ next game, scoring the game-winning bucket to help the Hogs secure a 62-60 win against Georgia. But he has struggled in two road games since, managing seven points on 2-for-19 shooting in losses at Florida and LSU.
He responded with a better outing against Kentucky, scoring 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting last Saturday. But Anderson doesn’t want Young, who is averaging a team-high 15.2 points a game, trying too hard to impress with even more production in front of familiar faces tonight.
“I am sure he will have his family and friends there, but I am not even concerned about the reception,” Anderson said. “Let's go out there and play. That's the key. Go out and play and hopefully he plays well.”
Young said that’s the goal. He plans to be “smiling and having a good time” back in his home state. But Young also wants to lead the Razorbacks to an important win.
“We’re going to need to have some big performances out of some guys on the road,” Young said. “I’ve got to come through for my team and do the things I can control, and I think everybody else will follow that pretty much.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau