Five years after winning their second straight state title together, Connor Vanover and Issac McBride reunited at their third collegiate stop and picked up right where they left off.
The Little Rock natives and two-time Power Five transfers have played critical roles in Oral Roberts’ dominant season, complementing All-American guard Max Abmas and helping the Golden Eagles to a 20-4 record.
With Vanover and McBride — who won back-to-back Arkansas Class 4A championships as teammates at Baptist Prep in 2016 and 2017 — making up two-fifths of its starting lineup, Oral Roberts is a perfect 11-0 in the Summit League with a 21.3-point average margin of victory.
Typically a one-bid league, the Golden Eagles are building a strong resume for a potential at-large bid if they slip up in the conference tournament. They are No. 44 in the NET rankings and No. 57 on KenPom, making them one of the best low-major teams in the country.
Vanover is a major reason for that. Now listed at 7-foot-5 and 227 pounds, which is two inches taller and 12 pounds heavier than he was listed last season at Arkansas, he has once again gone viral on TikTok — and this time for his exploits on the court rather than his awkward dance skills alongside his brothers.
After getting sporadic minutes with the Razorbacks, Vanover — who began his career at California before transferring home — is Oral Roberts’ second-leading scorer at 13.5 points per game and leading rebounder at 6.8 per game. Most impressively, he ranks second nationally with 3.26 blocks per game.
Even though he made only 1 of 13 in his final season at Arkansas, Vanover has always been known as a 3-point shooter and he found his touch again with the Golden Eagles. He’s shooting 34.7% from beyond the arc on 4.4 attempts per game this season.
That pales in comparison to McBride’s shooting. Now in his second season at Oral Roberts, he’s shot 44.3% from deep since arriving in Tulsa. He’s maintained that percentage despite attempting about one more 3-pointer per game than last season. That’s helped him average 12.3 points this year, which is third on the team behind Abmas and Vanover.
Unlike Vanover, McBride has never worn an Arkansas uniform. Originally a Kansas signee, he transferred before his first season with the Jayhawks. He then made his way to the SEC at Vanderbilt, where he averaged just 4.7 points in his lone season before hitting the portal again and landing at Oral Roberts.
Here’s a look at how several other former Arkansas basketball players have done this season…
Arkansas Basketball Transfers
Reggie Chaney — Houston
Stats: 20 G/0 GS, 2.6 points (56.1% FG, 35.3% FT), 2.8 rebounds
Now a super senior, Reggie Chaney is in his third season at Houston and has seen his production gradually decrease. After starting 23 games over the last two seasons, he’s come off the bench in every game this year, except for one he missed for personal reasons. His numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but Chaney’s best game this season came against Alabama, when he had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in 23 minutes. It also appears that he’s well liked by head coach Kelvin Sampson.
Ethan Henderson — Texas A&M
After starting 15 games and averaging 2.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.3 minutes in his first season at Texas A&M, Ethan Henderson is still listed on the Aggies’ roster, but has yet to play this season. He also isn’t practicing with the team, but it isn’t because of injury or disciplinary reasons, according to head coach Buzz Williams, who has declined to go into detail about why he’s away from the team.
Justice Hill — LSU
Stats: 19 G/16 GS, 7.1 points (29.8% FG, 27.8% 3PT, 55.2% FT), 1.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals
A two-sport standout at Little Rock Christian, Justice Hill actually skipped his senior year of basketball in order to enroll at Arkansas a semester early. However, that proved to be his only semester with the Razorbacks. He transferred out upon Eric Musselman’s arrival and, after a stop in JUCO, ended up at Murray State. Hill was very productive with the Racers and made his way back to the SEC when his coach, Matt McMahon, got hired at LSU. After a hot start to the season, during which he was among the nation’s leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio, Hill has cooled off some in SEC play and actually missed some time for personal reasons. That includes not being with the Tigers for their trip to Bud Walton Arena last month.
Abayomi Iyiola — Kansas State
Stats: 17 G/9 GS, 4.1 points (54.0% FG, 76.2% FT), 3.3 rebounds
Arkansas was the second of what is now four schools for Abayomi Iyiola. He joined the Razorbacks from Stetson, but played just 1 minute in two seasons because of an NCAA-mandated redshirt and torn ACL. Iyiola left and got revenge with his third team, as he had a monster performance in Hofstra’s upset win over Arkansas at Simmons Bank Arena last year. That 18-point, 14-point effort was easily his best game of the year. He is back at the high-major level this season, landing at Kansas State for his sixth and final year of eligibility. With the Wildcats, Iyiola’s minutes have been sporadic. He started nine straight games at the start of Big 12 play and even had a 14-point, 8-rebound performance against West Virginia, but he’s since returned to the bench and hardly played in their last two games.
Chance Moore — Missouri State
Stats: 22 G/3 GS, 11.1 points (44.2% FG, 36.0% 3PT, 61.2% FT), 3.8 rebounds
The lone freshman on last year’s team, Chance Moore transferred after playing only 8 total minutes for the Razorbacks. He didn’t go far, landing just a couple hours north at Missouri State. Even though he’s played a sixth-man role, Moore is the Bears’ leading scorer at 11.1 points per game. He recently broke out of a five-game slump by scoring 16 points (plus notching 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks) against Valparaiso. That nearly matched his point total from the previous five games combined (17 points).
Jaxson Robinson — BYU
Stats: 23 G/23 GS, 8.5 points (37.2% FG, 35.0% 3PT, 66.7% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Now at his third school in as many seasons, Jaxson Robinson has started all but one game for BYU. That was the Cougars’ most recent game against St. Mary’s, when he and two teammates were suspended for a violation of team rules. When he’s been on the court, Robinson has been a 3-point sniper for BYU, as six of his eight shot attempts per game have been from beyond the arc. He’s connected on 35% of those.
KK Robinson — Texas A&M
Stats: 13 G/0 GS, 2.4 points (52.9% FG, 25.0% 3PT, 64.7% FT), 0.8 rebounds
Leaving Arkansas after two seasons in search of more playing time, KK Robinson has yet to find it even after landing at Texas A&M. He’s averaging just 6.8 minutes and has played in only 13 of the Aggies’ 22 games. One of the games Robinson didn’t play in was Tuesday night at his former home, as he never came off the bench against Arkansas.
Desi Sills — Kansas State
Stats: 22 G/0 GS, 8.2 points (43.8% FG, 24.0% 3PT, 75.0% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Kansas State has been one of the best stories in college basketball this season and Desi Sills — along with Abayomi Iyiola — has been a key part of that. Picked to finish dead last in the Big 12, the Wildcats are a legitimate top-10 team that knocked off Kansas in the middle of January (the Jayhawks have since gotten their revenge). Sills has been their sixth man, averaging the fourth-most minutes on the team (28.0), and he came up huge in the win over Kansas, scoring a season-high 24 points. That was one point shy of his career high, which he set against UAPB while playing at Arkansas State last season.
List of Former Razorbacks
|Reggie Chaney||Houston||2.6||2.9||0.6 steals|
|Ethan Henderson||Texas A&M||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Justice Hill||LSU||7.1||1.9||3.4 assists|
|Abayomi Iyiola||Kansas State||4.1||3.3||0.4 blocks|
|Chance Moore||Missouri State||11.1||3.8||0.8 steals|
|Jaxson Robinson||BYU||8.7||3.2||2.1 assists|
|KK Robinson||Texas A&M||2.4||0.8||0.5 assists|
|Desi Sills||Kansas State||8.2||3.2||2.2 assists|
|Connor Vanover||Oral Roberts||13.5||6.8||3.3 blocks|
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