Sun Belt hoops still grandly sucks, but the performance of Red Wolves men’s basketball in recent weeks has compelled me to write something more cheerful. It was only about a month ago when I pronounced A-State basketball an “endangered species.” It may well still be endangered. But something has happened to Arkansas State hoops since dropping two to ULM in Monroe: they’ve become hugely entertaining.
There is literally nothing to watch: no exciting three-point marksman, no thunder-dunker, no ball-handling wizardry, no clairvoyant teamwork, no selfless defense. The biggest statistical talking point for this team? It gets to the free throw line. In the final minutes against ULM, when the Red Wolves really needed the free throws, Arkansas State was all brick.
Theres more – or rather, there’s less. Arkansas State hasn’t had an NBA draft pick since 2002, when 7-footer Jason Jennings went 43rd to the Trailblazers (he took a job in Europe instead). A-State’s biggest claim to fame is the documentary Hoop Dreams which nobody has rented since Hastings went out of business. There’s just no juice in Jonesboro.
Go ahead and summon the whaaaambulance, but Sun Belt titles just aren’t good enough anymore. It’s a little been-there-done-that, and yeah we’ve forgotten those miserable Joe Hollis years. As former head coach Gus Malzahn famously put it, it’s time for Next Level.
More Red Wolves content is good for Arkansas, America, the World, and the Universe.