FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson believes the Razorbacks could be much improved during its second season under his guidance.
He’s not the only one who sees the potential, apparently.
Arkansas was selected to finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference in a media poll released by the conference Monday. The Razorbacks are projected to finish behind Kentucky, Florida, Missouri and Tennessee, respectively.
Guard B.J. Young also was named a preseason first-team All-SEC selection in the media vote. Forward Marshawn Powell was named a second-team selection.
The fifth-place media projection comes after a 2011-12 season in which the Razorbacks went 18-14, 6-10 in the SEC and finished ninth in the 12-team conference. But Arkansas enters 2012-13 with Young back after averaging 15.3 points a game as a freshman, Powell returning from last year’s knee injury, and more depth expected to contribute to Anderson’s up-tempo brand of basketball.
“Guys that can get up and down the floor,” Anderson said. “Guys that can finish at the rim. Guys who can run the floor and run lanes. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see it. … I’m excited. I’m ready to go.”
Young will be key to any success. The sophomore, who considered the NBA Draft after his freshman season, earned a first-team spot along with Phil Pressey (Missouri), Kenny Boynton (Florida), Nerlens Noel (Kentucky) and Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee). Pressey was named SEC Preseason Player of the Year after receiving six votes from media members, while Young finished tied for third with three.
Powell joined Patric Young (Florida), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia), Alex Poythress (Kentucky), Michael Dixon (Missouri) and Jaronne Maymon (Tennessee) on the second team. Powell only played in two games last season, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee after averaging 19.5 points and 6.0 rebounds.
“We’ve been practicing for a while, we’ve been working out with each other for a while,” Powell said of Arkansas. “We’re just ready to see how we put it all together.”
Arkansas will hold its Red-White game in Bud Walton Arena on Oct. 30, then plays its exhibition opener against LeMoyne-Owen on Nov. 5. The Razorbacks open the season against Sam Houston State in Bud Walton Arena on Nov. 9.