Arkansas coach Eric Musselman wasted no time contacting Wichita State transfer Ricky Council IV when he entered the NCAA transfer portal on April 21, which helped the Razorbacks get an official visit this week.
“I walked into the portal and Coach Muss called me about three seconds later,” Council said. “I didn’t know who it was, so when I heard about Arkansas, obviously I knew about their tradition. Trey Wade played with us and I watched them play all year and of course they made the Elite Eight and stuff.
“Just his presence when I walked through the portal and his communication with me. I had to visit him, and everything he said was true. It’s amazing here.”
He announced his top six from Arkansas, Iowa State, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech on Tuesday. He arrived in Fayetteville Thursday evening and left around noon Saturday.
Council, 6-6, 204 pounds, was named the American Athletic Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year after starting 7 of 28 games and averaging 12 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists.
He shot 43.7% from the field, 30.6% from three-pointers and 84.9% from the free throw line as a freshman. He also had 32 interceptions and 14 blocks.
“I’m a 3 man, 2 man,” Council said. “That’s what they’re recruiting me for, and that’s what they need for that last track. My game, I’m just versatile. I can do a bit of everything. My shooting percentage was the highest this year, but as we approach next year, I know I can go much, much higher.
“I can throw the ball, I can dribble, I can pass, I can rebound at a high level.”
He scored in double figures in 17 games and had a season-high 31 points in an 84-79 home win over Central Florida on Jan. 26.
The board, which declared for the NBA draft in March while maintaining college eligibility, was impressed with Arkansas’ facilities.
“The facilities are crazy,” he said. “Perhaps the craziest is the university center. (The one) in Wichita State is nice, but this one is nice and is like 2-3 times bigger.
He was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman team in his first season as a Shocker while appearing in 21 of 22 games with a start. He averaged 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44% from three.
The board, which has three years of eligibility, felt its defense was lacking last season, but Musselman and staff reassured him.
“I realized after the season that I wasn’t as healthy as I should have been when it came to my knees,” Council said. “I felt like I could have been even better defensively if that was the case. They showed me clips showing that my defensive effectiveness wasn’t as bad as I thought. I was proud of that.
“I tell everyone now that I’m trying to be Defensive Player of the Year wherever I go, so that will be the next step.”
He will return home and determine his next step in the recruiting process.
“(Sunday) will be a great thought process,” he said. “I’ll be back tonight, but I won’t start thinking about stuff like that tonight. I’ll decide if I’ll do more tours or something. This is just the next step.