Thursday, July 02, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Kingsley will see increased role for Hogs

Special to The Leader

FAYETTEVILLE – Without his good friend and former AAU teammate Bobby Portis, Razorback post player Moses Kingsley must transform from project to foundation in his third year.

Those obviously are Arkansas coach Mike Anderson’s expectations. On Monday’s SEC basketball coaches summer teleconference, he discussed the impact that Kingsley and sophomore point guard Anton Beard must have now that SEC Player of the Year Portis and guard Michael Qualls have turned pro, while starting guard Ky Madden and starting forward Alandise Harris have graduated.

Growing up playing soccer in Nigeria and catching up mostly on athleticism and shot-blocking upon arrival to the United States, Kingsley will be called upon for an all-round role as a regular starter with Portis gone.

“It presents an opportunity for guys like Moses Kingsley, who I really feel will have a tremendous junior year, to really step up and be that big guy that we need,” Anderson said.

Kingsley does cast a big presence protecting the rim.

Only Portis, 50 blocks, rejected more shots for the Razorbacks in 2014-2015 than Kingsley’s 38. Portis blocked his 50 shots in 1,076 minutes. Kingsley blocked his 38 in just 391 minutes. He averaged a block every 7.5 minutes, but only averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds.

Beard, of North Little Rock, opened the the 2014-2015 season as a backup, but during the SEC campaign took supreme command on the point, freeing Madden to play off the ball.

In the selection of postseason All-SEC teams, Beard was noticed by the SEC coaches.

“Anton Beard was on the All-Freshman team last year,” Anderson said. “We certainly feel he will step into an impactful role on this basketball team.”


No doubt all of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks coaches in all sports have been asked about the controversy of the State of South Carolina first having the Confederate flag waving from the state capitol in Columbia, then feeling pressure, including calls from the governor of South Carolina and Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner, to take it down after nine blacks were murdered allegedly by a gun-toting white racist, while at a Bible study in church.

The suspect, Dylann Roof, had posted pictures of himself with a handgun and the Confederate flag before the murders.

Gamecocks coach Frank Martin took more questions on the Confederate flag Monday.

Martin expressed the various interpretations of South Carolina citizens, but ultimately supports the flag’s removal from capitol grounds.

“It’s part of our history,” Martin said of the Civil War beginning with Confederates firing on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. “It’s part of our fabric. It represents a lot of good to a lot of people here and represents what people were willing to die for. But there is also another side to the equation that it’s offensive to numerous other folks.

“So we have to embrace both sides of it. We can’t just look at one side and say ‘the heck with the other group.’ That’s why I think there is a place for that flag in people’s private homes and museums that represent the Confederate states and the history of South Carolina, but not public places. Government buildings and government grounds are a representation of all of our people, not just some of our people. So that is a point that I was trying to make.”

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey did not equivocate.

“I support the calls made to remove the prominent displays of the Confederate battle flag, and applaud the leadership demonstrated around this issue,” Sankey said in a statement last week released by the SEC office. “SEC universities are learning communities filled with people of diverse ethnicities.

“Through intercollegiate athletics we provide a rallying point for people of all backgrounds and beliefs. We must provide our student-athletes an opportunity to learn and compete in an environment conducive to all races, creeds and colors.”