Before Monday night’s rout of some Division IV team named Lemoyne-Owen, Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson announced the state’s best basketball player had been suspended for breaking team rules.
Afterward, Anderson refused to tell the public why he sidelined his preseason All-American B.J. Young for two games.
If this had happened ten years ago, it would have been quite clear to onlookers Young was breaking unspecified rules of another sort.
On the bench during Arkansas’ 111-45 win over Lemoyne, Young wore a tucked-in pink polo shirt buttoned to the very top, accented by thick-rimmed baby blue glasses. Rewind a decade, and if Young had gone in public looking like this – like Fresh Prince’sCarlton Banks – his teammates would have razzed him to no end.
2002 was a different sartorial world, though. Allen Iverson was basketball’s most popular player, and his style – gold chains, baggy pants, backward caps – had been forming for decades. You’d seen it hit mass cultural conscience through the raphip-hop scene, yes, but before surfacing on MTV it had long brewed in streets of America’s largest cities and the giant prison complexes far away from them.
Below are video highlights from the Razorback basketball’s Primetime at the Palace preseason intrasquad scrimmage. I have more video from the event (Hot Shot contest, dunk contest and scrimmage highlights) on my YouTube channel.
1. Freshman Devonta Abron is pretty agile, and isn’t shy about showing it off. It’ll be interesting to see if he tries to do a different dance during each pregame introduction, assuming he’s a starter. He’ll have to play pretty well for the coaches to let him do this during the regular season!
If there is such thing as a preseason debut, guard BJ Young made a smashing one on Friday night.
The highly touted St. Louis native made a name for himself among Arkansas fans last spring after scoring 27 second-half points in the second half of a high school playoff game against a team led by Florida signee Bradley Beal.
It’s clear the young man can do things in a hurry.
But as I watched Young treat Bud Walton Arena’s court like a NASCAR speedway during the Razorbacks’ “Primetime at the Palace” event, I don’t think it is premature to question whether there has ever been a faster Razorback in basketball.
And by fast, I mean pure speed with a ball from one end of the court to the other.
Two of the fastest players in NCAA history – Allen Iverson and John Wall – flashed world-class speed from the start of their freshmen seasons. Fans didn’t have to wait long to see their athleticism was something special.
It’s the same situation with Young, who is about 6-2 (not surprisingly, he’s shorter than listed on the official roster) but will only add weight to his 175 pounds in the upcoming years. So, he has a longer stride than one of his chief competitors for the title of all-time fastest Hog – 5-10 Kareem Reid. And another contender, Clint McDaniel, wasn’t as fast end-to-end as he was quick, side-to-side.
Enough talk. Catch a glimpse for yourself of what this guy is capable of. But don’t blink around the 25-second mark: