Coming off consecutive Elite Eight appearances, anticipation for Razorback basketball is as high as it’s been since the mid-1990s when Arkansas won a national championship and appeared in two straight title games.
ESPN released its “Way Too Early Top 25” college basketball rankings for 2022-23, and the Hogs are No. 1.
The Hogs will lose All American JD Notae, who decided to forego an extra year of COVID eligibility and enter the pro game, but are expected to return Jaylin Williams (who announced he will test the NBA waters but not hire an agent) and Au’Diese Toney. Plus, the Hogs bring in a class that features three 5-stars, three highly regarded 4-stars and a transfer portal pick-up in lengthy 6-9 forward Trevon Brazile from Missouri.
Eric Musselman’s program has finished with 20, 25 and 28 wins in his first three seasons in Fayetteville. His first Hog squad in 2020 won its first game in the SEC tournament before the NCAA cancelled March Madness due to the pandemic. Other national media outlets are high on the Hogs as well. Arkansas also is recognized as the early No. 1 in similar “way too early” rankings from 247 Sports and Sports Illustrated.
For ESPN.com, writer Jeff Borzello cites the Hogs’ incoming No. 2-ranked recruiting class:
There’s not a clear No. 1 entering the offseason, but five-star guard Anthony Black‘s commitment to Arkansas in late March gives the Razorbacks the edge. Eric Musselman, who has established himself as one of the best transfer recruiters and coaches in the country, is bringing the nation’s second-best high school recruiting class to a program coming off back-to-back Elite Eight appearances. Nick Smith is in contention to be the No. 1 pick in 2023, while Jordan Walsh and Black are also five-star prospects who could start right away. There are some roster questions, mainly focused on Jaylin Williams and Au’Diese Toney, but if one of the two returns, I think this is the best team in the country.
Projected starting lineup:
Nick Smith (No. 6 in ESPN 100)
Devo Davis (8.3 PPG)
Anthony Black (No. 20 in ESPN 100)
Jordan Walsh (No. 10 in ESPN 100)
Au’Diese Toney (10.5 PPG)