Even though the Duke basketball program no longer has Mike Krzyzewski at its helm, it still can’t help but try to block the Razorbacks’ return to the top of the college basketball world.
At the end of this past season, of course, the Blue Devils got the best of the Razorbacks in the Elite Eight. Soon thereafter, the Arkansas basketball program put a bow on perhaps its greatest recruiting class ever headlined by three McDonald’s All-Americans in Nick Smith Jr., Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh. Annoyingly, Arkansas fell right below Duke in all major rankings of the 2022 basketball recruiting class:
This week, the two teams were back at it again, this time duking it out over one of the most sought after wings left in the college basketball transfer portal.
On Monday, 6’6″ sharpshooting transfer Baylor Scheierman announced his top five for transfer destinations: Arkansas, Duke, Clemson, Creighton and Nebraska. A Nebraska native, Scheierman comes from the Stanley Umude School of Killin’ It in the Summit League Before Heading for a Bigger Stage.
Just as Umude starred in the Summit League for South Dakota in 2020-21 before transferring to the Hogs, Scheierman had the same kind of impact for his South Dakota State squad. Baylor Scheierman, who has also entered his name in the 2022 NBA Draft to test the waters, averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game last season while getting conference player of the year honors. The senior lefty hit 83 of 177 threes for 46.9%, and has an absolutely wicked step-back three-point shot, as you can see from the R-rated move he makes at the :39 marker below:
Currently, the Arkansas basketball team has a full roster with 13 scholarship players. If Jaylin Williams returns, then they will be one over with 14 scholarships. However, it’s unlikely any more Razorbacks will be entering the portal unless they want to sit out a year. Sunday was the deadline for college basketball players to provide their current schools with written requests to enter the transfer portal if they want immediate eligibility in the 2022-23 season.
Still, unexpected things could happen. And Arkansas basketball’s Eric Musselman is the type of coach who tries to prepare for roster shake ups. Musselman and his staff have contacted several transfers in the 6-5 to 6-6 big-wing range to help replace the departure of Au’Diese Toney.
“He might be looking for back court versatility, to play a big guard spot, be a wing, small forward,” Arkansas basketball reporter Kevin McPherson recently said on Pig Trail Nation. The Razorback coaches have actually met with two or three such prospects, including Scheierman, McPherson added.
“This guy did it all at South Dakota State, and is more of a score. I don’t know how good he is, defensively, but he would definitely bring some juice to that offense.”
Baylor Scheierman as Potential Arkansas Basketball Transfer
McPherson is alluding to a pretty big question mark in Scheierman’s game. On Tuesday, he announced he was going to Creighton, so any defensive shortcomings won’t hurt as much in Big East.
Stanley Umude took a while to get his game rolling for Arkansas this past season, but his main issue was rebounding and he was blessed with better athletic ability than Scheierman. CBS had ranked Baylor Scheierman down at No. 10 among available transfer in part because of questions on the defensive side of the floor.
“He’s a slippery ball-handler with the ability to create space for his shot,” David Cobb wrote. “It will be fascinating to see if he can translate that offensive prowess to a higher level and avoid becoming a defensive liability.”
Another potential issue would have been Scheierman’s lone shooting performance against SEC competition in the last two seasons. In November, he missed all 7 of this three point attempts against Alabama, although he did grab 18 rebounds and dish 6 assists. However, he has shot well against most other Power 5 competition, including Iowa State and West Virginia two years ago.
“I want to put myself in the best position to improve my pro aspirations,” he told Omaha.com. In that case, you couldn’t have done much better than Musselman and his staff full of NBA veterans. But Scheierman was probably looking for nearly guaranteed minutes, so Arkansas and Duke wouldn’t have been the best places since their rosters are so loaded (although if he’s looking for a head coach who almost phonetically shares his last name, the Blue Devils’ John Scheyer would have been the way to go.)
Arkansas is in an enviable position in that it’s brimming with so much talent that they already have two players who could develop into the type of shooter Scheierman is – rising junior Jaxson Robinson and freshman Joseph Pinion. With no consistently dead-eye, knock-down three-point shooters in the back half of last season outside of Stanley Umude, there’s a definite need for marksmen to make teams pay for doubling the likes of Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr.
It’s just up to Robinson and Pinion to prove they are ready defensively and on the boards. As far as Scheierman goes, his last couple seasons of work indicates that he could have been a perfect complementary piece if the Razorback coaches had been convinced he has the necessary lateral quickness on defense.
Now, attention focuses to the likes of Wichita State transfer Dexter Denns, a 6’5″ wing who has no such issues on defense. Razorback coaches have already met with him, McPherson says. Here’s his official bio:
Athletic wing who can play as a stretch-four… Highlight reel dunker and knock-down three-point shooter (40%)… One of the nation’s best defenders; can guard a variety of scorers at the 1-4 positions… Stands 6-foot-5 but has a 6-9 wingspan… WSU’s active career leader in games (85), starts (67), points (764) and rebounds (423)… Tied for 11th on WSU’s all-time three-point field goal list (141) and needs just three more to crack the top-10.
See Kevin McPherson talk more about potential Arkansas transfers starting at 8:30 below: