Arkansas has one of the best home court advantages in the country, but it will be a little while before the Razorbacks can get back into their own gym. There were heavy rains in Fayetteville last week Bud Walton Arena was flooded, causing some damage to the court. From the Arkansas News:
“This past Friday, Bud Walton Arena experienced water infiltration on some portions of the playing floor and areas surrounding the playing floor following heavy rains overnight,” [senior associate athletic director Kevin] Trainor said in an email. “Currently and throughout the remainder of this week the floor will be unavailable while the athletic department works to remove any excess moisture and completes a full assessment of any potential long-term damage to the playing surface.”
The extent of the damage — or how much it will cost to fix it — is not immediately clear. But the water damage has pushed the Arkansas men’s and women’s basketball teams out of Bud Walton Arena for the time being.
That’s a problem, and not just because of the simple fact that basketball courts are not supposed to be submerged in water. Arkansas doesn’t have a basketball practice facility. They’re the only program in the SEC without one. AD Jeff Long has been pushing to spend $20-25 million on a facility, but he’s gotten some pushback. That’s football country down there. Folks don’t want to spend that money on a basketball program that was good 20 years ago.
Here’s the catch, however: practice starts Friday. The Razorbacks have been working out in the school’s rec facility, which is fine for an intramural team but isn’t exactly ideal for a team competing in the SEC.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.