Vanover becomes Arkansas' latest portal entry
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Connor Vanover has decided to leave Arkansas and will finish his career elsewhere, as the big man entered the transfer portal Wednesday morning.
The Little Rock native announced his decision via Instagram, thanking his coaches, teammates and fans.
"Growing up in Arkansas it was always a dream to play in a Razorback uniform and I will never forget the amazing memories we made these past few years," Vanover wrote. "I will never forget my time here and will always hold this place near to my heart."
Listed at 7-foot-3, Vanover was the tallest player in UA history, but he struggled to maintain a spot in the rotation each of the last two seasons.
Joining the Razorbacks as part of Eric Musselman’s first crop of transfers, Vanover began his career at California in the Pac-12 and had to sit out the 2019-20 season because of old NCAA rules.
Eligible to play the following year, Vanover started 27 of Arkansas’ first 29 games before being replaced by Jaylin Williams in the starting lineup during the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 6.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 16.2 minutes.
This past season, after not even appearing in the season opener against Mercer, Vanover started 10 of the Razorbacks next 11 games — all during non-conference play. That includes a 19-point, 7-rebound, 3-block performance in his season debut against Gardner-Webb.
Once they got to SEC play, though, he hardly came off the bench.
Vanover played a total of 11 minutes in five appearances over Arkansas’ final 25 games. His last appearance was Jan. 18, when he got a brief stint in the first half of a win over South Carolina.
Entering the game with a three-point lead, Vanover checked out after missing a dunk and with his team now down by two. He posted a minus-5 in just 2 minutes and 3 seconds of playing time and never saw the floor again.
Originally from Little Rock, Vanover helped Baptist Prep with back-to-back Class 4A state titles before finishing his high school career by playing his senior year at Findley Prep in Nevada. A three-star recruit, he picked Cal over offers from Alabama, Memphis, Ole Miss and others.
With the Bears, he showcased his unique skillset as a perimeter shooter despite his incredible height. It took some time for him to establish his role, but he eventually ended up averaging 27.5 minutes over his final 11 games at Cal. He averaged 12.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks and shot an impressive 37.8 percent — on 4.1 attempts per game — from beyond the arc over that stretch.
Unfortunately, Vanover couldn’t replicate that shooting success with the Razorbacks. He shot 32.4 percent from 3-point range his first year, but that dipped to 27.7 percent after the start of SEC play. This year, he was just 1 of 13 (7.7%) from deep.
Arkansas has now seen three players enter the transfer portal since the end of the season, as Vanover follows freshman Chance Moore and sophomore KK Robinson. Their departures open up scholarships for the Razorbacks to fill with either more transfers or the return of JD Notae and/or Au’Diese Toney as super seniors.
Click here for an updated look at Arkansas’ roster for the 2022-23 season.