Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball Notebook: JD Notae's importance, injury update on Kamani Johnson, more
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Hoops Notebook: Notae's importance, injury update on Johnson, more

JD Notae has been a key to Arkansas' 3-game winning streak.
JD Notae has been a key to Arkansas' 3-game winning streak. (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

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FAYETTEVILLE — No player has been more important to Arkansas’ recent success than JD Notae.

For evidence of that, just look at how the Razorbacks have played with and without him in their current three-game winning streak. He has led the team in the plus-minus statistic in each game and is a combined plus-85 in 83 minutes and 32 seconds of playing time.

When the senior guard is on the bench, which has been for just 36 minutes and 28 seconds during that stretch, Arkansas has been outscored by 18 points.

“He’s our point guard now, so I think he’s done a good job over the last few games,” teammate Stanley Umude said. “I think we’ve seen how much we need him against Mississippi State and even last game when he got in some foul trouble. We had a couple tough stretches there.”

Umude also said he believes Notae is one of the best players in the SEC and only getting better as the season progresses.

Entering Saturday’s games, he is just barely behind Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. for the league’s scoring crown. In fact, exactly one point separates the two, with Pippen averaging 18.76 points to Notae’s 18.71.

Of course, Notae is much more than just a scorer. He’s dished out 9 assists over the last two games - which is how many the rest of the team has combined - and he continues to be a lockdown defender. With at least one in every game he’s played this year, Notae is averaging an SEC-high 2.5 steals per game.

“He really has taken to Coach Muss’ coaching in terms of sharing the ball more and taking better shots and then having to guard every single night and that’s something I think happened last year at this time - that he really started to evolve into a defensive player,” assistant coach Gus Argenal said. “Now he’s continuing to do that as a leader.”

Health Update

Arkansas has been without redshirt junior Kamani Johnson the last two games because of an ankle injury suffered early in the win over Missouri.

The 6-foot-7 forward started and played well against the Tigers before having to leave the game. He wasn’t wearing a boot, but did not dress out Tuesday against South Carolina. It sounds like his status is still day-to-day.

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