Hoop Hogs notebook: Joe & veteran Hogs returning 6/8, freshman 6/29, schedule update

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Photo Coutesy: University of Arkansas Athletics

By: Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Razorbacks shooting guard Isaiah Joe continues to test the 2020 NBA Draft waters with no decision yet on whether to return to school for his junior season or turn pro, but he will be with his veteran Hog teammates when they return to Fayetteville on June 8 to begin voluntary workouts as the first step in the basketball program’s return following an indefinite hault to all unversity activities that began in mid-March as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Joe, who has not hired an agent thus leaving the door open to possibly play again at Arkansas next season, talked on Saturday about his plans to return to Fayetteville next week.

“When we get up there initially we’ll be able to get in the weight room, and get in the training room, you know just keep our bodies right,” Joe said. “I think they said like a week later we’ll probably be able to get on the court with some GA’s and some trainers. Keep it minimal perople at a time, and I think about four weeks after that we’ll be able to get on with the team. So, we’ll just see where it goes. Hopefully they keep us posted on when we can get on the court.”

Joe put up All-SEC-first-team-equivalent numbers in the 9 league games he played in while healthy, averaging 20.4 points while shooting a collective 36-of-94 from 3 (38.3%) and 42-of-43 from the free throw line (97.7%) as the Hogs were 6-3 in those games. He said he believed Arkansas was in great shape for a postseason run when the season abruptly ended after the Hogs’ first-round SEC tournament win over Vanderbilt that proved to be the final game played by SEC teams due to the pandemic.

“Man, we had a really high ceiling,” Joe said. “We were definitely making a run. We had a good opportunity to make it to the NCAA tournament. I felt like we were going to make that run to get there in the SEC tournament. It was just unfortunate for the season to be cut short for us and everybody else. It hurt for a little bit, but now we’ve just got to move on and focus on the next steps in life.”

Joe played in 26 games for the Hogs — 5 while hobbled with an injured knee — as he finished the sason as Arkansas’s second-leading scorer at 16.9 points per game (7th in the SEC) and the league’s leader in made 3-pointers (94) despite missing six games due to that injury. 

Joe has been in the process of doing virtual interviews / meetings with NBA teams for weeks, and given that the NCAA lifted its June 3 deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA Draft if they want to return to school, Joe has time to weigh his options. Multiple NBA mock drafts project Joe to be selected during the two-round, 60-pick draft with most predictions having him going in the second round.

Linked below are mutliple Twitter posts with highlights from Joe’s workout on Saturday as well as a two-part interview …

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Two Arkansas freshman-to-be guards impress during Friday night workout: With Arkansas freshmen allowed to move to campus in Fayetteville and join the basketball program on June 29, two of the prized recruits from the nation’s top 5 recruiting class looked sharp during a Friday night skill-drills workout in their hometown of Little Rock.

Moses Moody (6-6 shooting guard, composite national No. 44 / 4-star prospect) and Khalen “KK” Robinson (6-1 point guard, composite national No. 59 / 4-star prospect) were visibly bigger and had obviously added muscle mass, and their near-two-hour long workout revealed that both have improved their ball-handling and shooting skill.

Moody and Robinson, along with Davonte “Devo” Davis (6-4 point guard, ESPN national No. 88 / 4-star prospect) and Jaylin Williams (6-10 forward / center, composite national No. 78 / 4-star prospect), make up the Hogs’ four-player high school recruiting class that ESPN ranks as the fifth-best in the nation.

Linked below are mutliple Twitter posts with highlights from Moody’s and Robinson’s workout on Friday …

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Arkansas reportedly to host Texas-Arlington in 2020-21:According to Friday source-reporting by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, Arkansas will host Texas-Arlington as part of its 2020-21 non-conference schedule.

The Mavericks have former Hog Jordan Phillips on their roster, and combined with Arkansas playing at Tulsa against former Hog Keyshawn Embery-Simpson in the upcoming season, there will be two former Razorbacks from then-head coach Mike Anderson’s 2018 recruiting class that will face Arkansas in ’20-21 non-conference play.

Arkansas is also set to play at least four neutral-site games next season: the Main Event in Las Vegas in November (two games with Louisville, San Francisco, and Colorado State joining the Hogs in the four-team field); against Oklahoma in Tulsa in December; and against Old Dominion in North Little Rock in December. 

The Hogs will also play on the road in the ’20-21 Big 12-SEC Challenge, atlhough an opponent has not yet been named.

With those 7 games being in the fold, the Razorbacks can schedule as many as 6 more non-conference matchups for next season.

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