It takes a truly special occasion to get Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman into a suit. The 2023 NBA Draft was such an event.
While wearing a dapper suit, Musselman saw three Arkansas basketball players go in the same draft for the first time since 1992, when Todd Day (No. 8), Oliver Miller (No. 22) and Lee Mayberry (No. 23) were first-round picks and Isaiah Morris (No. 37) went in the second round.
Anthony Black, in going at No. 6, became just the seventh Razorback lottery pick in modern NBA Draft history.
Nick Smith Jr. was once widely projected to develop into a top-five pick, but injuries contributed to a disappointing freshman year caused him to slide down draft boards to No. 27. (More on that below.)
With so many players in the mix for the NBA Draft, the Arkansas basketball staff was forced to split up. In an interview with Pig Trail Nation, Musselman sat with Black during the draft and some of his staff joined him in Brooklyn. Assistant coach Keith Smart is in Dallas with Walsh for his draft party, while the rest of the staff and current team is back home for a draft party in Fayetteville.
This was the fifth straight year at least one Arkansas basketball player has been selected in the NBA Draft, which is the second-longest such streak in school history. The Razorbacks had an eight-year streak from 1978-85, but that stretch was extended by two years in which their only draftee came in the fifth and seventh rounds.
The NBA Draft has been only two rounds since 1989. Arkansas’ longest stretch of having a player taken in the top two rounds was four years from 1982-85, so that record will fall this year.
Below are some of the best and worst takes to come out the 2023 NBA Draft when it comes to Pro Hogs:
Live Updates from 2023 NBA Draft
While you wait for the NBA Draft to start, check out our best-case player comparisons for each of the four Arkansas basketball players who could be selected Thursday night.
There was a funny moment during the pre-draft introductions, as Eric Musselman – who famously never wears suits – struggled with his collar as Anthony Black was introduced.
Anthony Black – 6th overall – Orlando Magic
With the Orlando Magic taking him with the sixth overall pick, Anthony Black ties Joe Kleine (1985) as the second-highest drafted player from Arkansas. The only player drafted higher was Sidney Moncrief, who went fifth overall in 1979.
On top of that, Black was just the second college player selected in the 2023 NBA Draft, following Alabama’s Brandon Miller, who was picked No. 2 overall. He is also the second one-and-done in UA history, following Moses Moody in 2021.
According to Forbes, Black is set to make $7.2 million as a rookie. His four-year contract is worth $32.9 million.
Sam Quinn of CBS Sports gave the Magic an “A” grade for the selection:
“I love it. This is someone who many thought would last to No. 8, but that would have been too late for a player who can contribute on both sides. He has proven himself to be a true big point guard, adding weight without losing speed or agility. The question is his shooting, and he has looked better in the draft process than he looked in college. If he can figure that end out, he will be a top-five player in this class no doubt.”
Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation gave the Magic a “B” grade:
“I’m skeptical he has enough juice off the dribble to truly be a lead guard. Orlando really needs to add some shooting now with Black joining Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. A spacing crunch will be facing Orlando unless their core pieces all improve their jump shots. Either way, Black’s connective passing and switchable defense makes him the type of player every team needs in the playoffs.”
Nick Smith Jr. Not Taken in Lottery
As it had been trending lately, Nick Smith Jr. was not taken in the lottery. The first 14 picks of the draft featured three SEC players – Miller, Black and Cason Wallace (Kentucky) – but Smith is still on the board.
Nick Smith Jr. – 27th overall – Charlotte Hornets
The surprising slide of Nick Smith Jr. comes to an end at pick No. 27. He was overtaken by emotion when his name was finally called. Once considered a potential top-3 pick, he fell quite a bit after battling an injury and going through an up-and-down freshman year with the Razorbacks.
According to Forbes, Smith is projected to receive a four-year contract worth $12.6 million, which includes a rookie salary of $2.5 million.
Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation gave the Hornets an “A” grade for the selection:
“At his best, Smith is a speedy ball handler with a deep bag of scoring tricks: he has a deadly floater, he can hit three-pointers off movement, and he’s development as a passer. Smith is a small guard and will be questions defensively, but if gets fully healthy this could end up looking like a major steal.”
Adam Finkelstein of CBS Sports gave the Hornets an “A-” grade:
“It’s not clear that it’s going to hit, but this is a smart swing for high upside in this space for a rebuilding team. Smith’s knee injury dramatically affected his college year, but so did some issues with timing and defense. Figure that stuff out, and you’ve got a nice big guard who can score and has the talent to work out.”
Missouri Fans Take Shots at Eric Musselman
Jordan Walsh – 38th (second round) – Boston Celtics
The first Arkansas basketball player off the board in the second round is, as expected, Jordan Walsh. It’s the first time since 1992 that the Razorbacks have had at least three players selected in a single NBA Draft.
He was announced as a pick by the Kings, but Walsh has been traded to the Celtics.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley gave the Celtics a “B-” grade for the selection:
“With Marcus Smart off to Memphis, Boston needed a new tone-setting, all-purpose defender. Enter Jordan Walsh. … If Walsh does enough offensively for defenses to pay attention to him, he could find his way into a larger role than people expect next season. If he forces the Shamrocks to play 4-on-5 offense, though, he’ll have a hard time getting off the bench.”
Kyle Boone of CBS Sports gave Sacramento a “B” grade before realizing there had been a trade:
“One scout I talked with at the NBA Draft Combine suggested Walsh could be a first-round pick if he returned to school, so Sacramento snagging him at No. 38 in this year’s draft could wind up being a nice long-term investment.”
Celtics Fans Happy with Jordan Walsh Selection
Ricky Council IV Signs as UDFA
Despite leading the Razorbacks in scoring and declaring for the NBA Draft as a junior, Ricky Council IV was not one of the 58 players taken in the 2023 NBA Draft.
It took only a few minutes before news broke that he signed a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Latest Projections for 2023 NBA Draft
|The Sporting News||Yahoo!|
|Anthony Black||9th (Jazz)||6th (Magic)||6th (Magic)||6th (Magic)||8th (Wizards)||8th (Wizards)|
|Nick Smith Jr.||22nd (Nets)||26th (Pacers)||22nd (Nets)||22nd (Nets)||17th (Lakers)||19th (Warriors)|
|Jordan Walsh||46th (Hawks)||32nd (Nuggets)||41st (Hornets)||27th (Hornets)||40th (Pacers)||49th (Clippers)|
|Ricky Council IV||49th (Cavaliers)||57th (Wizards)||undrafted||53rd (Timberwolves)||50th (Thunder)||53rd (Timberwolves)|
2023 NBA Draft Order
- San Antonio Spurs – Victor Wembanyama (France)
- Charlotte Hornets – Brandon Miller (Alabama)
- Portland Trail Blazers – Scoot Henderson (G League)
- Houston Rockets – Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite)
- Detroit Pistons – Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite)
- Orlando Magic – Anthony Black (Arkansas)
- Indiana Pacers – Bilal Coulibaly (France)
- Washington Wizards – Jarace Walker (Houston)
- Utah Jazz – Taylor Hendricks (UCF)
- Dallas Mavericks – Cason Wallace (Kentucky)
- Orlando Magic – Jett Howard (Michigan)
- Oklahoma City Thunder – Dereck Lively II (Duke)
- Toronto Raptors – Grady Dick (Kansas)
- New Orleans Pelicans – Jordan Hawkins (UConn)
- Atlanta Hawks – Kobe Bufkin (Michigan)
- Utah Jazz – Keyonte George (Baylor)
- Los Angeles Lakers – Jalen Hood-Schifino (Indiana)
- Miami Heat – Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA)
- Golden State Warriors – Brandin Podziemski (Santa Clara)
- Houston Rockets – Cam Whitmore (Villanova)
- Brooklyn Nets – Noah Clowney (Alabama)
- Brooklyn Nets – Dariq Whitehead (Duke)
- Portland Trail Blazers – Kris Murray (Iowa)
- Sacramento Kings – Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Marquette)
- Memphis Grizzlies – Marcus Sasser (Houston)
- Indiana Pacers – Ben Sheppard (Belmont)
- Charlotte Hornets – Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas)
- Utah Jazz – Brice Sensabaugh (Ohio State)
- Indiana Pacers – Julian Strawther (Gonzaga)
- Los Angeles Clippers – Kobe Brown (Missouri)
- (31) Charlotte Hornets – James Nnaji (Nigeria)
- (32) Indiana Pacers – Jalen Pickett (Penn State)
- (33) Minnesota Timberwolves – Leonard Miller (G League)
- (34) Charlotte Hornets – Colby Jones (Xavier)
- (35) Boston Celtics – Julian Phillips (Tennessee)
- (36) Orlando Magic – Andre Jackson Jr. (UConn)
- (37) Oklahoma City Thunder – Hunter Tyson (Clemson)
- (38) Sacramento Kings – Jordan Walsh (Arkansas)
- (39) Charlotte Hornets – Mouhamed Gueye (Washington State)
- (40) Denver Nuggets – Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine)
- (41) Charlotte Hornets – Amari Bailey (UCLA)
- (42) Washington Wizards – Tristan Vukcevic (Serbia)
- (43) Portland Trailblazers – Rayan Rupert (France)
- (44) San Antonio Spurs – Sidy Cissoko (G League)
- (45) Memphis Grizzlies – Gregory Jackson II (South Carolina)
- (46) Atlanta Hawks – Seth Lundy (Penn State)
- (47) Los Angeles Lakers – Mojave King (G League)
- (48) Los Angeles Clippers – Jordan Miller (Miami, Fla.)
- (49) Cleveland Cavaliers – Emoni Bates (Eastern Michigan)
- (50) Oklahoma City Thunder – Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State)
- (51) Brooklyn Nets – Jalen Wilson (Kansas)
- (52) Phoenix Suns – Toumani Camara (Dayton)
- (53) Minnesota Timberwolves – Jaylen Clark (UCLA)
- (54) Sacramento Kings – Jalen Slawson (Furman)
- (55) Indiana Pacers – Isaiah Wong (Miami, Fla.)
- (56) Memphis Grizzlies – Tarik Biberovic (Turkey)
- (57) Washington Wizards – Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana)
- (58) Milwaukee Bucks – Chris Livingston (Kentucky)
(NOTE: Chicago and Philadelphia forfeited their second-round picks because of tampering violations.)
First-Round Picks from Arkansas Basketball (before Thursday)
|2021||Moses Moody||14||Golden State Warriors|
|2015||Bobby Portis||22||Chicago Bulls|
|2006||Ronnie Brewer||14||Utah Jazz|
|2001||Joe Johnson||10||Boston Celtics|
|1995||Corliss Williamson||13||Sacramento Kings|
|1992||Todd Day||8||Milwaukee Bucks|
|1992||Oliver Miller||22||Phoenix Suns|
|1992||Lee Mayberry||23||Milwaukee Bucks|
|1985||Joe Kleine||6||Sacramento Kings|
|1984||Alvin Robertson||7||San Antonio Spurs|
|1983||Darrell Walker||12||New York Knicks|
|1979||Sidney Moncrief||5||Milwaukee Bucks|
|1978||Ron Brewer||7||Portland Trailblazers|
(NOTE: George Kok was the second overall pick by the Indianapolis Olympians in the 1948 BAA Draft — the precursor to the NBA.)
Second-Round Picks from Arkansas Basketball
|2022||Jaylin Williams||34||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2020||Isaiah Joe||49||Philadelphia 76ers|
|2019||Daniel Gafford||38||Chicago Bulls|
|2009||Patrick Beverley||42||Los Angeles Lakers|
|2008||Sonny Weems||39||Chicago Bulls|
|1996||Darnell Robinson||58||Dallas Mavericks|
|1992||Isaiah Morris||37||Miami Heat|
|1988||Andrew Lang||28||Phoenix Suns|
|1982||Scott Hastings||29||New York Knicks|
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