FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson has often said Kikko Haydar’s value to the Razorbacks in 2012-13 was hard to measure.
But there was one more indication of the 5-foot-10 guard’s worth during the team’s season-ending awards banquet in Bud Walton Arena.
Haydar was the big winner of the night, walking away with four awards. The list included: Razorback Hustle Award for being the team leader in charges, Iron Razorback Award for his dedication in the weight room, Razorback Service Award for his work in the community and an academic award for earning the team’s highest grade point average.
“To be honest, I was hoping somebody else would win them,” Haydar said. “But I’m very thankful. … They mean a lot. I work very hard. Like I said up on the stage, everybody on this team works hard. The award could’ve gone to anybody.”
Haydar, a walk on, emerged as a key part of the Arkansas rotation last season in averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds a game. His best work came on the defensive end, when he pestered opponents whenever he was on the floor.
Anderson thought enough of Haydar to name him a team captain along with forward Marshawn Powell at midseason. Haydar played in 30 of Arkansas’ 31 games. He did not play against Syracuse – Arkansas’ only home loss – because of a coach’s decision.
“How ironic the game we lost he didn’t play in,” Anderson said Monday. “So maybe that’s bad coaching from that standpoint. … He came off the bench and really ignited our team. If I’ve got five guys, five Kikko Haydars out there playing with that mindset, then I think we’re going to win a lot of basketball games.”
Powell, Young Updates
Forward Marshawn Powell and guard BJ Young did not attend Monday’s team banquet. Both players have announced plans to enter the 2013 NBA Draft.
Anderson said both players were “still enrolled in school.” He added: “Let’s hope that they finish up and finish up fine in a fashion that will certainly help us” in regard to the program’s Academic Progress Rate.
Powell as named Arkansas’ most outstanding player and the chairman of the boards on Monday night after averaging a 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds last season. Young received the Playmaker Award after leading the Razorbacks in assists.
Anderson said he wasn’t surprised to see either player enter the draft this season.
“When you look at a guy like BJ, last year he put his name in so my inner instincts told me, ‘Hey, the possibility is there,’” Anderson said. “So when he did it, it didn’t really catch me off guard or surprise me. Marshawn is a guy that has been through quite a bit. He’s going on his fifth year; he’s 23 years old, so maybe in his mind it’s time for me to move on.
“Marshawn gave us everything he had. BJ did as well. We wish them well.”
Forward Coty Clarke and Hunter Mickelson, and guards Anthlon Bell, Michael Qualls and Dee Wagner also took home awards Monday night.
Clarke was named the team’s best free-throw shooter after making 74.2 percent, while Mickelson received the Rim Protector Award after leading the Razorbacks in blocks for the second straight season (39).
Qualls (4.5 points, 3.4 rebounds) and Bell (4.3 points) were named the team’s most improved players. Wagner earned an academic award for his work in the classroom.
Arkansas Target Commits To A&M
Arkansas will miss on one of its prime recruiting targets this spring. Jamal Jones, who played at Searcy High and originally signed with Ole Miss out of high school for the 2010-11 season, announced via Twitter he will attend Texas A&M.
The news came after the 6-foot-8 Jones came to Arkansas on an official visit last weekend. Jones — who was dismissed from Ole Miss during the 2010-11 season and played at Lee College in Texas last season — chose Texas A&M over a handful of scholarship offers. The list included the Razorbacks.
Arkansas was hoping to add the versatile Jones to a team that will play without forward Marshawn Powell and BJ Young next season. Both players have entered the 2013 NBA Draft after leading the Razorbacks in scoring last season.
Arkansas signed two players — McDonald's All-American Bobby Portis and forward Moses Kingsley — last fall. Arkansas still has one scholarship available for 2013-14 with the late signing period opening Wednesday.
“We never stop recruiting, so there is a possibility we may sign one at this point in time,” Anderson said Monday night.