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Arkansas basketball seems to get a certain kind of player once every decade or so. The kind of player who, in a bygone era, would have shown up on SportsCenter Top 10s every few days.
Brandon Dean. Michael Qualls. Ricky Council IV.
Dean was the human highlight-reel of the 2000s, Qualls of the 10s and now Council, a transfer from Wichita State, is blowing away his teammates and coaches with his athleticism during summer workouts.
Nick Smith Jr., the national Player of the Year, has seen some of the best the country has to offer in and around his age. But what Council did this week during practice was – pun coming – shocking.
“Ricky is unbelievable. Ricky is crazy,” Smith said. “I haven’t seen anything like that before. I’ve literally seen him walk under the basket and do a between-the-legs [dunk] … Not even trying. I thought I was athletic, until I saw Ricky.”
Dean was a consistent guard during his four Arkansas seasons and Qualls was an All-SEC wing. Council, who is heading into his junior season, could join them with his all-around ability, too.
“He adds a dimension to our transition break as a three-man that can make a feet-set three and can also catch and finish lobs,” coach Eric Musselman said. “He’s a good basket cutter. He’s a high-volume free-throw attempt player.”
Council was the American Athletic Conference Sixth Man of the Year last year, averaging 12 points and 5.4 boards for the Shockers. Don’t expect him on the bench too often with the Razorbacks this year.
“Ricky has at least one ‘wow’ moment every practice — at minimum one,” Musselman said. “It might be a dunk, it might be a finish in traffic. But he plays with an incredible energy.”