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Eric Musselman shares how Ricky Council reacted to coming off the bench

On3 imageby:Kaiden Smith02/19/23

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Arkansas bounced back from two straight SEC losses with a 84-65 win over Florida at home on Saturday, but they did so in a new way. The team’s leading scorer Ricky Council game off of the bench for the Razorbacks versus the Gators, and head coach Eric Musselman spoke on how Council reacted to that decision.

“He’s a scorer by nature and certainly felt like he came in with the right mentality. I mean I’m old and old school, we had everybody but two players here way way way earlier than report time tonight. We never have anybody late, I mean being five minutes early is late for us, I mean we have never been late for buses, nothing, practice, never ever ever, Musselman explained. “But sometimes guys come in five minutes, six minutes before report time, we had a lot of guys here real early and I can tell you Nick (Smith Jr.) and AB (Anthony Black) were here really early, I could tell you Ricky was here really early.”

Council clearly had a starter’s mentality heading into the game despite coming off of the bench, and still ended the night with 15 points as the team’s sixth-man.

“And so we talked at the 70-minute mark or 80 minutes before tip off that Ricky’s approach showing up that early knowing he wasn’t going to start, it didn’t effect him at all and that’s what you want from a player,” Musselman said. “He knows the confidence that we have in him, I mean he played 32 minutes and he deserved to and we need him to play well.”

Council is the SEC’s leading scorer, and had also led the conference in minutes per game prior to Saturday’s game. There’s no question he’s taken a heavy workload for the Razorbacks all season, but the question remains if he’ll continue to come off of the bench for Arkansas moving forward.

“How this lineup goes, I gotta dive into Georgia and look at matchups and see if we’re gonna keep it like it is or if we’re gonna change. All those things with where we are right now they’re still to be determined, how we go in to certain games,” Musselman said.

All eyes will be on Musselman as he decides to do with his lineup going forward, as the Razorbacks face Georgia in their next game on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.