WALLY HALL: Musselman keeps adding to strong class

Just when it seemed University of Arkansas men's basketball Coach Eric Musselman and his staff were due a break after a great recruiting season, they pull off another one with graduate transfer Justin Smith.

Program sales should go up as the Razorbacks will look different with 10 players who didn't see action last season. They are also going from one of the smallest teams in the country to one of the tallest.

Arkansas could have nine players who are 6-6 or taller, including 7-3 Connor Vanover, who sat out last season after transferring from Cal, where he averaged 7.5 points per game as a freshman.

Vanover is an excellent shooter from behind the three-point arc, but with his length, he will get his share of rebounds, too.

Musselman will have three players who are 6-9 in true freshman Jaylin Williams from Fort Smith, Abayomi Iyiola who sat out last season after transferring from Stetson and graduate transfer Vance Jackson from New Mexico.

Other new players include JD Notae, a 6-1 guard, who sat out last season after transferring from Jacksonville, and graduate transfers Jalen Tate and Smith.

Tate, 6-6 guard, comes from Northern Kentucky and Smith was a highly recruited 6-7 forward from Indiana.

Joining Williams in the freshman class -- which might prove to be one of the best freshman classes in school history (and all are from Arkansas) -- are 6-6 guard Moses Moody, 6-0 guard KK Robinson and 6-4 guard Davonte Davis.

Reggie Chaney is transferring, so the Razorbacks have 13 players on scholarship.


In April, Wake Forest hired Steve Forbes as its men's basketball head coach.

Forbes, who is an excellent recruiter and teacher, has a wide and varied background, including receiving his undergraduate degree at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

Forbes played baseball there. After graduating, he spent a year as the sports information director and then turned his full attention to chasing his dream.

He spent the next four years as an assistant coach at two different community colleges before catching on at Idaho as an assistant for two more seasons.

Then it was three seasons at Louisiana Tech and one at Illinois State, where he caught the attention of Billy Gillispie, who hired him at Texas A&M.

Next were five seasons at Tennessee, and then he became the head coach at Northwest Florida State for two seasons.

He moved to Wichita State for two seasons and in 2015 became the head coach at East Tennessee State.

Forbes was 130-43 and made the NCAA Tournament in his second season.

He and the Buccaneers were poised to return to the Big Dance after a 30-4 season in 2019-20, but like everyone else they were sidelined by the coronavirus.


It seemed that Andy Kennedy and Pat Bradley are the two best basketball analysts on the SEC Network and worthy of prime time on ESPN.

Kennedy, though, has returned to his love of coaching and takes over this season as head coach at Alabama-Birmingham, his alma mater.

Kennedy was the head coach for 12 years at Ole Miss, where he went 245-156 and made the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT seven times.

Bradley will return to the SEC Network this fall if the coronavirus allows play.


Probably no one was more surprised to find out movie star Chuck Norris had died than Chuck Norris (that is if he reads Facebook).

A Monday posting of Norris dying from covid-19 on Facebook was meant to be a joke, and yours truly took it literally and added that to Tuesday's column on athletics and the deadly coronavirus.

The message remains: Wear a mask and social distance, please.