LITTLE ROCK — Unsolicited advice for Arkansas basketball fans: Say goodbye to Marshawn Powell and BJ Young and move on.
The decision that is best for them will not keep Arkansas from being a better "team" in 2013-14.
Whether it’s another year in Mike Anderson’s system or an influx of talent, Arkansas will improve on defense and will rebound better. Offensively, players will be more aggressive, not deferring to Powell or Young, and better ball movement will result in higher percentage shots.
When I raised a question about replacing their 30 points a game, an insider pointed out that Arkansas averaged 72 per game without Powell in 2011-12 and 74 per game with him this year.
In other words, somebody will score. Maybe senior-to-be Coty Clarke, or redshirt transfer Alandise Harris, or freshman-to-be Bobby Portis or somebody who signs during the April 17-May 15 period. Clarke played 20 minutes or more in each of the last 10 games and averaged more than nine points per. Harris averaged 13 points per game at Houston. Portis is 6-foot-10 and could be taller and quicker than the man guarding him.
Potential Razorbacks include junior college players 6-foot-8 shooting guard Jamal Jones and 6-foot-4 combo guard Desmond Lee. At this time, Anderson only has room for one more, but that can change.
Jones wanted to be a Razorback out of Searcy, but was not offered and opted for Ole Miss where he was dismissed for violation of team rules in early January 2012. At the time, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said, "There’s a process. You get to the point of no return …. That’s where we are."
Anderson would not have offered Jones a scholarship unless he believed the young man had cleaned up his act. Recruited hard by Texas A&M, Jones is likely to visit College Station. Other possibilities are San Diego State, Oregon and TCU. Still, there is that want to be a Razorback and his stats from the recent National JC Tournament whet the apptetite:
—Fifty-four points in 54 minutes, including 13-of-26 from the field and 20-of-23 from the free throw line.
—A 38 percent shooter from 3-point range, he made 4-of-9. Young shot 23 percent from deep; Powell less than 35 percent.
—Closed out the first game by scoring 11 in the final four minutes, a 3-pointer and 8-of-8 from the line.
Whoever is on the court must address the problem that Michael Qualls mentioned after Arkansas missed out on an NIT bid because of a poor record outside the state.
"We’ve got to be brothers on the court," he said. "I felt like a lot of games that we lost, we kind of dispersed. At home, we didn’t have that problem because we had the crowd behind us and it kind of kept us together."
As for Young and Powell, neither was likely to improve their draft stock by playing another year.
Young looked into the draft last year when some said he might go late in the first round. He is not proven as an outside shooter and his forte is getting to the basket, not easy in the NBA at 6-foot-3. My guess is he will go in the second round where the money is not guaranteed.
Powell is not likely to be selected in the two rounds of the draft, but he is 23, has put in four years at Fayetteville, and there is money to be made outside the U.S. For instance, a recent article identifying the top 20 Americans playing in Europe said No. 2 is former Razorback Sonny Weems. The 6-foot-7 Weems recently signed a three-year deal with a team in Moscow where the income tax rate is much lower than in the U.S.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.