basketball Edit

Freshman Jaylin Williams to make return for NCAA tournament

Head Hog Eric Musselman teased Jaylin's return on Twitter with this photo on Monday afternoon.
Head Hog Eric Musselman teased Jaylin's return on Twitter with this photo on Monday afternoon.

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After sitting out the last four games due to Covid-19 protocols, freshman forward Jaylin Williams will be making his return for the Razorbacks as they head into the NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-10 freshman from Fort Smith has shown that he makes an immediate impact when on the court for the Hogs. On the year, he has put up 3.9 ppg, and 5.6 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game but his usage went up dramatically in the games prior to his isolation.

In his last game played against LSU, Williams played 30 minutes and was all over the stat sheet with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks, 2 steals, and 8 points.

However, it is not just the stats that make Williams one of the most important pieces to this Razorback team, it’s the hustle plays.

When Williams comes in off the bench, it is almost as if the whole tone of the game shifts. He provides the energy and big plays when needed, which the Razorbacks missed during the SEC Tourney.

Look for Williams to potentially make an entrance into the starting lineup. Coach Musselman hinted toward a shift in the rotation heading into the NCAA Tournament.

“Jaylin will be back,” Coach Musselman said. “Changes the complexion of who we are, maybe we’ll change the starting lineup.”

Connor Vanover has gotten the nod in the starting lineup for the Hogs most of this season. However, he has seen his role decrease recently as he has played 8 and 5 minutes in the last two games.

The aggressive approach to attack Vanover in the paint by opposing teams led Musselman to reach down his bench and bring in junior Ethan Henderson during the SEC tournament.

Depth seemed to be a problem at the forward position while Vanover was not seeing the court much but Ethan Henderson stepped up. The Hogs essentially only had two big men in rotation the last couple of games.

With Williams being cleared from Covid-19 protocols, depth will not be a problem for the Hogs. He's reacclimated to workouts and will probably see a lot of minutes against Colgate.

The anticipated return of Jaylin Williams is set for Friday at 11:45 (CT) on truTV as the Hogs are in line to face the Raiders in the first round of the NCAAT.