ESPN analyst says Arkansas is tough to guard when Barford and Macon get going
ESPN’s Chris Spatola says Arkansas’ JUCO guards are adjusting
By Bart Pohlman
In Arkansas’ upset win at then-No. 21 South Carolina, Jaylen Barford starred, scoring 23 points and grabbing five rebounds. Daryl Macon chipped in 13 points, including some key free throws down the stretch.
A few days later, in the Hogs’ win over Ole Miss, it was Macon who stole the show, scoring 30 points and becoming the first to tally that many off the bench for the Razorbacks since Jannero Pargo in 2002. Barford was the second-leading scorer with 15 points.
The two JUCO guards have upped their game recently for the Razorbacks, who are fighting to maintain their NCAA Tournament footing.
ESPN college basketball analyst Chris Spatola, who called Arkansas’ win in South Carolina, joined Sports Talk on Wednesday and said when Barford and Macon have it going, Arkansas is tough to defend.
“When those guys start driving the basketball, when Barford starts driving and attacking the basket, when Macon starts doing both and knocking down shots, they’re really tough to guard,” Spatola said. “And that night against South Carolina, now I think South Carolina is starting to wear down a little bit, but even in that game against at the time the nation’s best defense, Arkansas was really tough to handle on the offensive end.
“I think that’s where Arkansas has really gotten a lot better as the year has moved forward.”
Barford and Macon were top-five JUCO signees and four-star players per 247Sports, and Spatola said there’s a big adjustment period.
“Take a kid like Jaylen Barford, who was the No. 1 JUCO kid coming out and led the ranks in scoring,” Spatola said. “In preparation for the first game I did actually watched some tape of him as a junior college player, and you just get him different kind of shots. I mean, he was a kid on that junior college team who could kind of take whatever shot he wanted, was a volume guy. You gotta adjust to that. Same thing with Daryl Macon.
“You gotta adjust to playing at this level and playing together.”
Spatola echoed the thoughts of Arkansas Hawks chairman Bill Ingram, who was on Sports Talk on Tuesday and said Barford and Macon have another level they can hit.
“I actually think those guys have another gear they could get to this year,” Ingram said. “There’s no question they’re talented players. They’re beginning to do little things like rebound and stuff more. Those things like that are going to help the team win, and take pressure off Moses (Kingsley) and Trey (Thompson).”
For more, check out Spatola’s thoughts on Barford and Macon below: