BURN THE HORSEWith Michael Javes arriving on campus this week, we can finally take a look at who's who at UALR this season. At this point, everyone looks great and there are no holes anywhere. But it never seems to work out that way on any team at any level. What UALR does appear to have this year is a lot of pieces to the puzzle.
Many are young players with little or no Division I college experience. Getting each piece into the right spot on the board will be a challenge for the staff this year.
And only about half of the roster was here for the summer school sessions this year. That increases the learning curve for the staff and especially the strength coach.
Will this team be better than last year's team? It's tough to say right now. They should be better at the point guard and 4 forward positions. They'd seem to be equal if not better at the 5 forward position. Going into the season, they're probably a little worse at the 2 guard and 3 guard positions. However, there is a lot of potential at both spots and either could turn out to be a plus this season.
Marlon Louzeiro (6-7, Sr., F) - Was all over the place as a junior. Sometimes he started and was a major contributor. Other times he couldn't even get on the floor. Definitely has some skill and will be counted on for more consistency.
D'Andre Williams (5-10, Sr., PG) - Was solid most of the season but seemed to pick it up late in the year. And he was key during UALR's Sun Belt Tournament run.
Tramar Sutherland (6-3, Sr., G) - Injury about this time last year really hurt his junior season. He got off to a really slow start as a result. With a year of health, he'll be counted on much more this season.
Courtney Jackson (6-6, Sr., F) - If he was a better free throw shooter it would be tough to keep him off the court because he's tough to match up with. But because of that fact, teams aren't afraid to foul him. He's coming off an injury that ended his 2010-2011 season early.
Reggie Fondren (6-3, Jr., G) - He's a combo guard who could play any of the three guard positions. Where he fits in remains to be seen, but he definitely helps give more depth at a couple of spots.
Eric Lawton (6-0, Jr., G) - One of a couple of candidates to replace Solomon Bozeman at the 2 guard position. Lawton is a one-time San Diego State signee who now has two years of junior college experience. One of those years was spent with Williams as his point guard.
Chuck Guy (5-10, Soph., G) - Guy spent most of last season as Williams' backup at the point and he was pretty solid most of the way. Guy is another player who gives a lot of flexibility. He was solid enough at point guard that you could see him continue splitting time with Williams there before taking it over full time as a junior. He also showed flashes as a 2 guard that should get him a look there.
Gus Leeper (6-9, So., F) - Leeper started big, disappeared in the middle and was more than solid at the end of last season. Unfortunately he injured his knee in the summer and appears out for the season. That year of conditioning and working with Coach Barron will be a big help when he comes back in 2012-2013, but it won't help this year.
Will Neighbour (6-9, So. F) - I feel like I've been writing about him his whole life. He is an interesting piece to the team because of his ability to play some 3, some 4 and some 5. He won't floor you with statistics (I don't think he's going to be a 20/10 type guy) but he does a lot of things that help teams win. His ability to take a bigger defender outside or a smaller defender inside will force opponents to make decisions they don't want to make. He's also got international experience playing with Great Britain's junior national teams.
Michael Javes (6-10, Fr. F) - Considered a bit raw offensively but with a lot of potential. Leeper's injury likely puts Javes right in the middle of the action for this season.
James White (6-7, Fr. F) - Might be the forgotten member of this year's signing class. He'll remind some of former Western Kentucky big man Jeremy Evans. He's not as tall as Evans, but has a much better midrange to outside shot. He needs to bulk up but should be in the mix for some playing time.
Taggart Lockhart (6-5, Fr. G/F) - Lockhart appears destined to play the 3 guard position for the Trojans and it would appear he's got a strong chance for good minutes. He's a little bigger than some of the threes in recent times (John Fowler, Alex Garcia-Mendoza) and appears to have both an inside and outside game.
Ben Dillard (6-3, fr., G) Apparently the real forgotten member of this year's class. Sorry for leaving him off the first time. He should definitely be right in the middle of the competition for minutes at the 2 guard. Solid high school player who put up good numbers and looks like he has the tools to be a good college player. Tre'von Wilkerson (5-7, Fr., G) - Walk-on from Little Rock Central.
Casey Wilmath (6-2, Fr., G) - Walk-on from Searcy