Ricky Council IV transferred to Arkansas from Wichita State known for being explosive athlete and is one of several new additions to the roster who stands a good chance of bringing the crowd at Bud Walton Arena into a frenzy with highlight-reel plays.
As it turns out, Council is already living up to his reputation on the practice floor where head coach Eric Musselman says the high-flying wing is essentially a lock to provide at least one eye-popping moment per day. Add that to the early hustle and effort he’s put on display in drills, and Council is quickly finding himself climbing the pecking order for playing time and earning the trust of the coaching staff at his new home.
“Ricky, he has at least one ‘wow’ moment every practice, at minimum one,” said Musselman. “It might be a dunk, it might be a finish in traffic. But he plays with an incredible energy. I’ve never had a player in 5-on-0 skeleton when we dry run our opportunity break in transition, I’ve never had a player – in all the years, including NBA, minor leagues – I’ve never had a player run the wing so hard in 5-on-0 skeleton dummy offense.
“Maybe to some coaches they just mention it in the staff meeting. To me, it’s going to factor into his playing time, that he runs that hard, quite frankly, and he’s doing it in 5-on-0. Because what all this is about is who do you trust by how they conduct themselves daily in practice I’ve got a lot of trust in Ricky, I can tell you that right now, just by how hard he’s running, playing, doing the things that we want . “
– Eric Musselman (@EricPMusselman) June 9, 2022
For Council – who was named the AAC Sixth Man of the Year at Wichita State last season after averaging 12.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game – flying up the court in transition is something he intends to make a habit in these summer practices.
He sees the athletic, up-tempo Razorbacks have potential to be lethal on the break, and the more often he is winning the race down the floor, the more likely it is he gets an advance pass with an opportunity to make a play at the Rome.
“It’s just my focus running the wing this year,” the Council said. “I know they like to play fast. So, if I run the wing like that every time they are going to find me. I’m just focusing on it now so it can carry over into the season.”
At 6-6, 204-pounds with a knack for playing well above the rim, Council figures to be a popular target amongst his teammates. In fact, returning guard Davonte Davis was sold on the transfer wing after seeing a short Instagram clip of him taking flight in the first few days following his arrival to Fayetteville.
“I won’t even lie, I saw a video of Ricky. I was still at home,” Davis said. “Ricky and them had just got down here, and they were all in the gym. I saw a video of Ricky dunk and his head was over the rim. And I was like hold on now, is the goal lowered or something? ‘
“It was crazy. When I saw that I was like ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to have a real good team.’ Just from seeing that little five second video. Ricky has really impressed me coming from Wichita State and transferring here and understanding the system and learning things fast. “
After entering the transfer portal in April, Council ultimately chose Arkansas over a list of finalists that included Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech and Iowa State. His close relationship with his former teammate Trey Wade as well as a bond with Au’Diese Toney factored into the Hogs gaining he edge in landing his services.
“Me and Trey were really close my first year at Wichita State,” the Council said. “He was a real leader. We had a really good year that year, made it to the First Four and lost. Then obviously he came here. We were talking all year. I actually watching him play all year. When it came down to it and I hit the portal, he was giving me advice telling me what I would be getting into. It definitely played a role. Also talked to Au’Diese. “
Council and the Razorbacks are in the early portions of an eight-week summer training camp that includes strength and conditioning as well as limited on-court drills and instruction with the staff. Arkansas will also get 10 additional practice sessions in advance of an August 6-16 foreign tour in which the Hogs will travel and play four exhibitions in Spain and Italy.
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