Jim’s Notebook: Mike Anderson Begins Building Backcourt to Match Front

Anton Beard’s commitment to Arkansas on Tuesday — yes, commitments are non-binding and Beard can always change his mind — was welcomed news for Mike Anderson and the Razorback coaching staff.

Anderson’s rebuilding of the Razorbacks basketball program probably isn’t happening as fast as it needs to for some Hog fans, but there is a plan in place. Beard, part of the recruiting class of 2014, will be only one of several guards the Razorbacks land in coming months.

Arkansas has hopes to land a transfer point guard in Rutgers sophomore Jerome Seagears, who announced recently his plans to leave the Scarlet Knights in the wake of Mike Rice’s firing. (Rice’s unconventional coaching tactics in practices came to light through the release of vidoes, and after the nationwide public outcry that followed, he was summarily fired. The Rutgers athletic director lost his job in the mess, too.)

Seagears, who has already visited Auburn, is reportedly touring the Arkansas campus this weekend and dining at the Hogs’ usual recruiting hangout, the Catfish Hole, on Saturday night.

It’s not known whether the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Seagears will be granted eligibility immediately at his new school by the NCAA in wake of the Rutgers scandal or whether he’ll have to sit out a year like the usual transfer.

Seagears’ points-per-game dropped in 2013 from his freshman season, to 6.5 ppg from 7.7 in 2011-12. He averaged 2.5 assists per game as a freshman and 2.6 this past season in 27.2 minutes per game. He’s from the Washington, D.C., suburb of Silver Spring, Md., but attended prep school at Flora MacDonald Academy in Red Springs, N.C., where he averaged 32 points per game his final season there. Razorbacks assistant coach Melvin Watkins has extensive ties back to North Carolina.

Editor’s note: Below is a tweet between incoming Razorback forward, Bobby Portis, the senior at Hall High School in Little Rock, and Seagears April 27, 2013.


[tweet https://twitter.com/SEAGEARS_MADE/status/328278210057994240]


WHAT’S COMING BACK: Arkansas returns a backcourt of rising seniors Rickey Scott and Mardracus Wade, senior-to-be walkons Kikko Haydar and Fred Gulley, and rising sophomores Anthlon Bell, who saw spot duty as a shooter (with a career-high 17 points vs. Georgia), and Dee Wagner, who saw limited playing time last season. Also, rising sophomore Michael Qualls is a guard-forward combo.

B.J. Young decided to forego the remaining two years of his college career to enter the NBA Draft.

Mike Anderson and his staff have solidified the front court through recruiting — even with the recent transfer of Hunter Mickelson to Kansas and the departure to professional basketball by senior-to-be Marshawn Powell. The Hogs have Houston transfer Alandise Harris waiting to take over at a forward spot with two years of eligibility left, and the incoming freshman class features McDonald’s All-American Bobby Portis, 6-10, and 6-10 post Moses Kingsley, both members of last year’s 17-and-under AAU national champion Arkansas Wings program.

Also returning to the front line are rising senior Coty Clarke, a 6-6 forward who came on strong during SEC play, and 6-8 sophomore-to-be Jacorey Williams, Ky Madden, plus the versatile Qualls.

BEARD ON THE MOVE: Anton Beard will transfer to North Little Rock for his senior year after spending three seasons at Little Rock Parkview, where he starred in the backcourt with Mississippi State-bound I.J. Ready.

Beard lives in the North Little Rock School District and is allowed to transfer from a magnet school (Parkview) back to his district without penalty.

The left-handed Beard, who appears to have grown a couple of inches from his listed 5-10 height during last summer’s play and is a solid 180 pounds, will join heralded junior Kevaughn Allen with the Charging Wildcats, who won last season’s Class 7A state championship. Beard has displayed a good handle, a soft and accurate long-range shot and leadership qualities to garner a Top 100 ranking among this junior class. He’s shown the strength to finish around the basket on drives and is solid defensively.

And speaking of the Charging Wildcats, senior forward Thomas Alexander has signed to play collegiate ball at the two-year Holmes Community College in Mississippi, while point guard Dayshawn Watkins signed last November with Alabama-Birmingham. Watkins was also a member of the 17-and-under AAU national championship Wings with Portis and Kingsley.

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