LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Razorbacks’ basketball season came to a bittersweet end in the Sweet 16, overcoming obstacles and knocking off a 1-seed to get there. While the program’s best-ever signing class didn’t meet all expectations, more impressive newcomers enter the fold with potential to bring the Hogs over the hump.
That includes 5-star signee, Little Rock native Layden Blocker. The coveted point guard is set to join his home-state squad as Arkansas’ 9th highest rated freshman ever per 247Sports.
“Coach Muss has made a very good culture there and [their March Madness run] just shows how they fight,” Blocker said, learning a lesson watching his future team. “They didn’t let down or let up, no matter who they play… Being out there this upcoming season, playing with ups and downs, I see myself going through that just because it’s a part of the game.”
A Little Rock Christian product, Blocker pledged to his home state Hogs in June of 2022. He’d spend his junior and senior seasons headlining national power Sunrise Christian in Kansas. Despite moving out of state, the now 6’3″, 180 guard didn’t back down on his commitment.
“The staff believed in me no matter me going to Kansas, they were still recruiting me the same,” Blocker said. “I really enjoyed my time playing at Sunrise Christian for the last two years… I’d say it really prepared me for the next level because everything we do there simulates to college. I feel like once I step foot on campus I’ll be ready.”
Currently ranked as the 23rd best prospect of the 2023 class and the fourth best point guard, Blocker is joined by 5-star Colorado center Baye Fall in the Hogs’ signing class. Set to play for the team he grew up watching, Blocker views the Razorbacks’ style of play as an ideal fit.
“They play fast, and that’s how I like to play,” Blocker said. “They play together, it’s not all one person running the show. They all chip in and play hard and be aggressive… I just have the mindset to score and do whatever to help my team win.”
This homegrown Hog isn’t shy about praising head coach Eric Musselman, a key to his commitment to Arkansas over a laundry list of schools. Boarding the Muss Bus, Blocker believes he can grow into a focal point of the Razorbacks’ attack on both sides of the floor.
“Watching his energy, he brings all that on the table,” Blocker said. “Going out and playing with him can make me better, and just with the team we can all improve… He can make coaches better and everybody better on the floor.”
Watch our full story on Layden to hear his thoughts on joining the Razorbacks, gelling with returning players, chasing history for the program, and translating lessons of top-level high school ball to the SEC.