UA bas­ket­ball Coach Mike An­der­son, staff set to hit road for July tal­ent search.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - RICHARD DAVEN­PORT E-mail Richard Daven­port at rdav­en­port@arkansason­line.com

Arkansas Ra­zor­backs men’s bas­ket­ball coach Mike An­der­son and his staff will be scout­ing tal­ent na­tion­wide Wed­nes­day through Sun­day dur­ing the first of three NCAA-sanc­tioned eval­u­a­tion pe­ri­ods in July.

Coaches are also al­lowed to eval­u­ate tal­ent on the road July 19-23 and July 26-30.

The Hogs have Class of 2018 com­mit­ments from guard Isa­iah Joe, 6-4, 170, of Fort Smith North­side; guard Desi Sills, 6-1, 170, of Jones­boro; and for­ward Ethan Hen­der­son, 6-9, 190, of Lit­tle Rock Parkview.

Ju­nior point guard Jus­tice Hill, 5-10, 160, of Lit­tle Rock Chris­tian, is com­mit­ted for the 2019 class.

All four 2018 com­mit­ments play for the 17-un­der Arkansas Hawks. The Ra­zor­backs lost the com­mit­ment of Arkansas Hawks power for­ward Reg­gie Perry, 6-10, 225, of Thomasville, Ga, last week. Arkansas is look­ing to add three more play­ers to the 2018 class, and have their eye on ap­prox­i­mately 20 prospects, who will be par­tic­i­pat­ing at events like the Nike EYBL, Un­der Ar­mour, Adi­das AAU cir­cuits, JUCO Show­cases and other tour­na­ments.

“We’re try­ing to fin­ish up this 2018 class, which is a huge class for us and we have a good start on it,” he said.

The Ra­zor­backs will be look­ing to re­place the scor­ing of Daryl Ma­con and Jaylen Barford, who are en­ter­ing their fi­nal sea­son of el­i­gi­bil­ity.

Ma­con and Barford ac­counted for 26.2 points per game last sea­son, their first with the Ra­zor­backs.

“We’ll def­i­nitely have to step it up in that area in try­ing to find some guys that can score at guard and wing po­si­tion and also some size that can play and fit what we do and some ver­sa­tile size at that,” Cleve­land said.

Men­tal and phys­i­cal tough­ness, bas­ket­ball IQ , in­stincts and high char­ac­ter are part of eval­u­a­tion process, along with the ob­vi­ous fo­cus on tal­ent.

“If you look at around league, our league has up­graded tal­ent all across the board,” Cleve­land said. “So we def­i­nitely have to make sure we stay in that ball­park and get guys that can come in and com­pete for cham­pi­onships and play for cham­pi­onships and guys that are not only good enough ath­let­i­cally, but also IQ-wise and just know how to play the game.”

Arkansas’ 2017 class fea­tured in-state tal­ent, start­ing with El Dorado power for­ward Daniel Gaf­ford, 6-11, 220, a con­sen­sus 4-star prospect and top 50 player; and Lit­tle Rock Parkview guard Khalil Garland, 6-6, 190, who was rated as the na­tion’s No. 12 guard and No. 55 player over­all.

Mills wing­man Dar­ius hall, 6-7, 210; and for­ward Gabe Os­abuo­hien, 6-8, 219, of South­west Chris­tian Academy in Lit­tle Rock, rounded out the class.

NCAA rules for­bid col­lege coaches from com­ment­ing on prospects, it’s known the Ra­zor­backs are look­ing at some younger in-state tal­ent: West Mem­phis sopho­more and 15-un­der Arkansas Wings for­ward Chris Moore, 6-6, 200; North Lit­tle Rock sopho­more and 15-un­der Team Su­per­star South guard Moses Moody, 6-5, 170; and Epis­co­pal sopho­more and 16-un­der Arkansas Hawks guard Khalen Robin­son, 6-0, 160.

Moore has schol­ar­ship of­fers from schools like Mem­phis, SMU and TCU; Moody is draw­ing in­ter­est from the Ra­zor­backs and nu­mer­ous oth­ers af­ter an out­stand­ing spring. He played last sea­son at Lit­tle Rock Parkview.

Be­ing aware of young in­state tal­ent is vi­tal, Cleve­land said.

“We have to make sure we get a head start and build a re­la­tion­ship with younger kids and the peo­ple around them,” Cleve­land said.

Un­der An­der­son, the Hogs em­pha­size a team ap­proach to re­cruit­ing prospects and their fam­i­lies.

“We don’t get caught up in, ‘This is my guy, that’s his guy’ be­cause some­times on staffs that cre­ates ten­sion and dis­sen­sion,” Cleve­land said. “We make sure ev­ery­body is in­volved to the point even our wives are in­volved in get­ting to know a prospect. That just helps us when a kid and his fam­ily get on cam­pus be­cause they’re fa­mil­iar with ev­ery­body on our staff.”

The en­tire Ra­zor­backs staff has in­put when eval­u­at­ing.

“Coach likes it when we re­cruit a kid that ev­ery­body gets a chance to see him and put their two cents into the eval­u­a­tion process part of it,” Cleve­land said.

“So it’s great es­pe­cially for guys like my­self, young coaches who as­pire to be head coaches, to learn from Coach An­der­son.”

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