The 80s were all about football in the southern region of America. The Hogs were one of the contenders in the Southwest Conference, led by two legendary coaches.
The basketball program was secretly transforming into one of the best programs in the country.
Like the football program, the Hogs on the court had two legendary coaches during the 80s, Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson. Sutton took the Razorbacks to the NCAA tournament in the decade’s first half to end his eleven tenure.
Nolan Richardson took over and began a rebuild, eventually leading the Razorbacks to a National Championship in the 90s. During the 80s, Richardson missed the tournament in his first two years but followed that with nine consecutive trips to the dance.
Who were the players that helped these legendary coaches achieve success? Let’s check them out.
Guard – Darrel Walker
Walker was drafted in the first round of the 1983 NBA Draft as the 12th overall pick. His final season at Arkansas resulted in SWC Co-Player of the Year and named a second-team All-American.
Guard – Todd Day
Day averaged 13 points his freshman season, then exploded to 19 points a game in his sophomore season in 1989-90, a major component in the team’s run to the Final Four. By the time he left the campus of Arkansas, he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and was a lottery pick in the 1992 NBA Draft.
Guard – Lee Mayberry
Mayberry was a true floor general for Richardson, coming in as a freshman averaging 12 points and 5 assists a game in 1988. In his sophomore season, like Day, he elevated his game, helping the Razorbacks reach the Final Four.
Forward- Scott Hastings
Hastings led the Razorbacks to back-to-back SWC conference titles, averaging 18 points per game as a senior. He was drafted in the second round of the 1982 NBA Draft and was a part of the 1990 Detroit Pistons Championship team.
Center – Joe Klein
Klein was a monster in the middle his senior season in 1985, averaging 22 points a game. He was a part of the last team under tutaledge of Eddie Sutton, eventually being drafted 6th overall in the NBA Draft. He spent 15 seasons in the NBA and was apart of “The Last Dance” Chicago Bulls championship team.
6th Man – Oliver Miller
Our all-time leader in blocks is now in the Arkansas Hall of Honor!
Congrats, Oliver Miller! 👊 pic.twitter.com/mfxwqIDgkc
— Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Basketball 🐗 (@RazorbackMBB) June 17, 2016
Miller was a big defensive stopper, never averaging less than 2 blocks a game during his career at Arkansas. His freshman year he averaged 2 blocks a game, becoming the perfect piece for Richardson’s Big three of Miller, Day, and Mayberry.
Reserve – Alvin Robertson
Robertson averaged 15 points and six assists in his final season at Arkansas as a junior. Robertson played sidekick to Klein and was drafted 7th overall in the 1984 NBA Draft, which is considered to be one of the best draft classes in NBA History.
Source: Yahoo Sports