Brazile returns to Hogs to play for Calipari

The Arkansas men's basketball roster is now at nine scholarship players.
Arkansas forward Trevon Brazile (2) reacts after scoring against San Jose State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

The Arkansas Razorbacks basketball team will have at least one player on the roster who will know his way around campus this summer.

Six-foot-10, 220-pound junior forward Trevon Brazile has decided to return to the Razorbacks after testing both the NBA and the transfer-portal waters in the wake of Eric Musselman’s departure as the Hogs head coach, and Arkansas’ blockbuster hire of John Calipari, who left Kentucky after 15 seasons to become the Razorbacks’ head coach in early April.

Brazile averaged 11.8 points and 6.0 rebounds in his nine games in the 2022-23 season before injuring his knee. The knee seemed to trouble him off and on in 2023-24 when he averaged 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds.

From the outside looking in, this appears to be a good move for the ultra-talented but injury-plagued Brazile as well as a solid addition to the Hogs’ roster that is now at nine scholarship players.

Brazile’s talent and skill is unquestioned. When healthy, he has All-SEC or possibly even All-American potential. His familiarity with the program, facilities, campus, and Fayetteville would likely make him an asset to his teammates and coaching staff off the court as well as on it.

While there is no doubt Brazile will have to adjust to Calipari, Arkansas’ new assistants, and his new teammates, he will be doing it in a familiar and comfortable environment.

It’s unknown if Calipari will add any other players to the roster. Division I men’s basketball squads have 13 scholarships to use.

However, Calipari recently said at the SEC’s Spring Meetings at Miramar Beach, Fla. that it made sense to have an eight- or nine-man roster in today’s college climate in which players are free to transfer, saying why should I develop players that are ultimately going to transfer and play for another program?

It also has NIL benefits for the program. Fewer players means more money to go around as well as possibly less of a need.

To those who are wondering about injuries, Calipari said eight or nine players would be enough. Adding that any team in the NCAA would be diminished if the wrong player suffered an injury.

I personally would like to see a roster of 10 to 12, but who am I to question a coach of Calipari’s experience and prowess. If he believes he can get it done with eight or nine players, more power to him.

The other eight players on the Razorbacks’ roster are:

D.J. Wagner, a 6-4 sophomore guard , who averaged 9.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists a game for Calipari last year at Kentucky.

Adou Thiero, a 6-9, 222-pound junior forward, who averaged 7.2 points, 5 rebounds for Calipari at Kentucky last year.

Johnell Davis, a 6-4, 203-pound, senior guard, who averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season at Florida Atlantic.

Jonas Aidoo, a 6-11, 241-pound senior forward, who averaged 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocked shots for Tennessee last season.

Zvonimir (Big Z) Ivisic, a 7-2, 234-pound sophomore forward, who averaged 5.5 points, and 3.3 rebounds for Kentucky after sitting out about half of his freshman year because of transcript issues from his high school in Croatia.

Karter Knox, a 6-6, 211-pound freshman forward from Riverview, Fla., who was a 2024 McDonald’s All-American.

Johnuel “Boogie” Fland, a 6-2, 175-pound freshman point guard from Harlem, N.Y., who was a 2024 McDonald’s All-American and was named to the 2024 Jordan Brand Classic National Team.

Billy Richmond III, a 6-6, 200-pound freshman forward from Memphis, Tennessee., who was named to the 2024 Jordan Brand Classic National Team.


Somewhat unrelated to recruiting — I say somewhat because everything a major college coach does either positively or negatively affects recruiting — Calipari joined in with the clean up efforts in Rogers, following last week’s tornado that did extensive damage last week across Benton and Madison counties.

Arkansas basketball head coach John Calipari helps with the clean up efforts in Rogers following a tornado that left extensive damage across the region. (Arkansas Athletics)

Since Calipari became the Razorbacks head basketball coach, we had heard that the veteran coach from Moon Township, Penn., is a big promoter of community service himself and with his basketball players. It was great to see photos of him last Sunday out in the community, lending a helping hand.

The cynical will call it merely a photo opportunity for the new coach. If that’s the case, well, he still went out and did some work to help, which no one expected him to do.


Lastly I appreciate the fact that Calipari has kept Fayetteville native and former Razorback star Ronnie Brewer Jr., an All-SEC and All-American performer as well as a first-round NBA draft pick and 10-year league veteran, on his staff as an assistant and recruiting coordinator.

It’s good to have some Arkansas and Razorback flavor on the staff. Brewer Jr., whose dad, Ron, was a 1978 All-American, a 1978 NBA first-round pick, and an eight-year NBA player from Fort Smith, is known and respected statewide and steeped in Razorback tradition.

No doubt, Brewer will end up being a valuable asset for Calipari’s program during the current transition and beyond.