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Arkansas sophomore G BJ Young adjusting to increased offensive role as playmaker

  • 38f39078abb85a02270f6a706700f023.jpg

    FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2012, file photo, Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, right, talks to BJ Young during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in North Little Rock, Ark. Young is once again Arkansas' leading scorer this season, but his shooting percentages are down across the board. The sophomore has made up for his shooting woes, however, by evolving into the overall playmaker coach Anderson was looking for. (AP Photo/Daniel Johnston, File) (The Associated Press)

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    FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2012 file photo, Arkansas' BJ Young (11) drives to the basket with Arizona State's Jonathan Gilling (31) defending during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational tournament in Las Vegas. Young is once again Arkansas' leading scorer this season, but his shooting percentages are down across the board. The sophomore has made up for his shooting woes, however, by evolving into the overall playmaker coach Mike Anderson was looking for.(AP Photo/David Becker, File) (The Associated Press)

One of BJ Young's reasons for returning to Arkansas for his sophomore year was to improve as a playmaker.

The Razorbacks' guard has done just that, nearly doubling his assists total while facing defenses that are geared to stop the talented scorer.

Heading into Wednesday night's game against Mississippi State (7-9, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), Young is fourth in the SEC in assists at 4.2 per game. That's up from the 2.3 assists he averaged last season, when he led Arkansas (11-6, 2-2) in scoring at 15.3 points per game.

The 6-foot-3 Young once again leads the team in scoring at 17.2 points per game, third-best in the SEC. It's his role, however, as an offensive facilitator — including a season-high nine assists earlier this season against Alabama A&M — that coach Mike Anderson has stressed and noticed.