Well, it’s official. After entering the transfer portal, Reggie Chaney has found a place to land next season and that’s with the Houston Cougars.
I’ve been pretty hard on Chaney the past two seasons at Arkansas. Not because I thought he was worthless, but because I thought he could’ve been so much more. He has a body and athleticism about him that might make Corliss Williamson envious. Big, strong, quick and a good vertical are all good qualities to have on a basketball court.
But, so is consistency and that’s one thing he did NOT have.
Last season, in 29 games, he posted a 17 points and 11 rebounds in a loss to Missouri and 14 lints in a win over Vanderbilt. I might add that those 14 points came in a game where he hit 6 of 6 from the floor and 2 of 2 from the line. However, in 10 of his 29 games last season he booked 0 points.
Chaney came to the Hogs as a 3-star recruit, but never really showed us a whole lot.
To his defense, he was in a precarious situation and it just may have been a situation that turned out to not be his time to play at Arkansas.
Last year, he was the tallest contributor on the team and was forced to play out of position at center rather than power forward. Next year, he would’ve been a middle of the road guy when it comes to size. At 6’8”, he’s shorter than grad transfers Vance Jackson (6’9”), Abamyomi Iyiola (6’9”), Jaylin Williams (6’9”) way shorter than Connor Vanover (7’3”), and a smidge taller than grad transfer Justin Smith (6’7”).
So, where would he have fit? Probably right at the end of the bench. It sounds harsh, but it also sounds true. Sometimes we all land in the wrong place at the wrong time, so we do what we can to find the right place at the right time.
You’ve got to look out for number one because no one else is.
THE RIGHT WAY OUT:
If nothing else, we lost a guy with some class. On his Twitter feed he thanked both Anderson and Musselman, as well as his teammates for pushing him in practice and for “All the memories we have, I will cherish….” He thanked the fans and called it a “pleasure to play at Bud Walton Arena.”
If there’s a better way to craft a goodbye message, I don’t know what it would be. And, it shows that he’s a man and not some disgruntled punk who thinks he got a raw deal.
HOUSTON — DO WE HAVE A PROBLEM?
Having complimented Chaney on the classiness of his departure, we still have to beg the question. Is his message a true sign of growing up? After all, between his freshman season and the beginning of his sophomore season, he found a way to get suspended for his first three games this year.
He’s already underachieved for two coaches in two years. It’s hard to imagine what great change could’ve occurred that will guarantee success in Houston. Like many extremely gifted high school athletes, my guess is that Chaney was given free reign to out jump, out muscle and out score everyone else while the coach got out of his way.
But it takes a level of maturity for players to realize that the playing field is leveled in college and that doing what a coach asks can make the difference between sitting on the bench and making All-Conference. We don’t know if that level of maturity has crept into his psyche as of yet, so we can’t predict that he’ll score 15 and grab 8 boards per game at Houston any more than we could predict it here. Again, we wish the best for him, but he needs to know what’s best for himself in order to be successful. Inevitably, that means listening and learning how to play his position based on how his coach wants him to play it.
HERE’S THE DEAL:
Reggie Chaney has eyes just like the rest of us do and it would’ve been hard not to see the writing on the wall. And, keep in mind he had the benefit of playing against some of these guys in practice and knows the level of sheer size and talent coming in.
It would be hard to imagine where he would really fit in on this new team when it was so hard to imagine where he could’ve fit in on last year’s team.
The bottom line is that he’s got to do what he’s got to do for himself. No one begrudges him that. He landed in a good spot and we should wish him well as he joins a team that finished in the Top 25 last year. However, if he doesn’t take the coaching that’s offered he may be just as disappointed in Houston as he was in Fayetteville.
The below published January 11, 2020:
At Ole Miss, Hogs Hope for Reggie Chaney Turnaround
This evening, the Hogs play Ole Miss after losing a nail biter at LSU on Wednesday night. That was an incredibly close game considering the fact that LSU corralled 29 more rebounds than us. That difference was large enough to move LSU from fourth place in the SEC in rebounding margin to first.
The Rebels won’t be as formidable on the boards, but they’re still hard to predict. Consider we’ve got one guy over 6’6” who actually gets minutes. As will most likely be the case for the rest of the season, our opponent will be taller than us. They’ve got eight guys on their roster who are at least 6’6”. Three of those guys are 6’10” or 6’11”.
This is not a death sentence for us because we’ve proven that we can compete with taller teams who rebound better. There was no clearer evidence of that than the LSU game. The fact that we had a chance to tie it, or win it, on the last possession despite being out rebounded 53-24 is pretty remarkable.
Coach Muss has been talking to the press and to his team about blocking out better. “We’ll have to continue work on our block outs and try to figure out a way to get over the back calls,” he said.
It’s been discussed in this column all season that we are rebounding better than we have in the past years. But we’re still last in the SEC.
I hate to say this, but with such a short team, our rebounding deficit will be a problem for us all year. We’re going to have to do other things to make up for it and, so far, we have by being quicker and playing with a sense of urgency.
But, the fact is, we’ve got to get better play out of Reggie Chaney. At 6’8”, he needs to provide some support for Adrio Bailey.
Wednesday night was not a good sign that will happen. After he picked up his 3rd foul he swatted the ball to the cheap seats earning him a technical and a 4th foul. Those 4 fouls were his only stats except for 1 assist. More impressive is the fact that he accomplished all of this in just 7 minutes of play.
Mason Jones turned in another great performance with 24 points and 4 assists and 2 steals. But, he was on the bench when we needed him the most with 5 personal fouls, which he committed with about 33 seconds to go in the game.
Additionally, Isaiah Joe spent much of his time on the bench after getting his 2nd personal foul in the first half. He scored all 13 of his points in the second half.
IN MY BOOK:
Winning on the road is tough in any conference anywhere. Going to Oxford has always been a tough place for the Hogs to steal one. I don’t expect this one to be any different. I’m convinced that we would have beaten LSU in Bud Walton, and we will beat them in Bud Walton later in the season.
With 12 wins under our belt going in to the second weekend of January the NCAA Tournament is by no means out of reach, but with our height deficiency, we’re going to need to play nearly flawless basketball going forward.
We only play 7 players and we need Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones on the floor and not sitting next to Musselman because of foul trouble. And, we can’t have Reggie Chaney committing idiotic technical fouls out of anger. That technical was committed not out of a fire in the belly to play better, but frustration out of not playing well. His foul and the technical against LSU gave the Tigers 4 free throws and they made 3 of them. We lost by 2.
However, if Mason Jones fouls out with 33 seconds to go after playing 39 minutes and scoring 24 with 4 assists and 2 steals, in my book, he gets a pass. His 5 fouls were about playing hard-nosed basketball.
When Reggie Chaney plays 7 minutes, gets 1 assist and 4 fouls including a technical, he does not. My dog, Stella, knows better than to get a technical in a close game like we had at LSU.
It’s time for Reggie to grow up, get with the program and play ball. The guys coming off the bench need to be just as smart as the starters.
Let’s hope he turns it around to contribute in a meaningful way and not just take up space out there. Doing that could be the key to us getting to the Big Dance.
Hear what Eric Musselman has to say about Reggie Chaney and Arkansas-Ole Miss below: