Hogs hoops tar­get Moss to nar­row choices soon

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - DUD­LEY E. DAW­SON Dud­ley E. Daw­son can be reached at ddaw­son@nwadg.com.

Although he only got a chance to play a cou­ple of tour­na­ments with the Arkansas Hawks in July, Mem­phis (Tenn.) East guard T.J. Moss left a nice im­pres­sion with his new team­mates.

The ques­tion now be­comes: Will Moss (6-foot-4, 175 pounds) fol­low his Hawks team­mates in be­com­ing Ra­zor­backs.

“It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence to play with th­ese guys,” Moss said. “They played great and played hard all the time. It’s been a short time, but it feels like it has be­come a brother­hood.”

Moss joined Ra­zor­back pledges Lit­tle Rock Parkview se­nior Ethan Hen­der­son (6-9, 190), Fort Smith Northside se­nior Isa­iah Joe (6-4, 170) and Lit­tle Rock Chris­tian ju­nior Jus­tice Hill (5-10, 160), along with for­mer Hog com­mit Reg­gie Perry — now pledged to Mis­sis­sippi State — in play­ing at the Adi­das Sum­mer Cham­pi­onships last week in Las Ve­gas.

Jonesboro guard Desi Sills is an­other 2018 Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayetteville, but was not in Las Ve­gas.

Arkansas is among the teams push­ing hard to land Moss. Also in pur­suit are Alabama, Florida, Mis­sis­sippi State, Ari­zona State, UConn, Georgia Tech, Mem­phis, Van­der­bilt, TCU and oth­ers.

“I am go­ing to start nar­row­ing things down here pretty soon,” Moss said.

Arkansas coach Mike An­der­son and his staff, who have six 2018 schol­ar­ships avail­able with three com­mits, have made it clear they would love to have Moss in the fold.

“Arkansas is a great pro­gram and plays the style of basketball that I like to play, up-tempo, pres­sure de­fense and coach An­der­son lets his guards play freely,” Moss said. “It is a great en­vi­ron­ment up there and I am for sure go­ing to take an of­fi­cial visit up there. They have been re­cruit­ing me a long time and I truly re­spect the coaches.”

Joe said he would love to be out on the court with Moss in col­lege.

“He is a real great player, a re­ally good friend,” Joe said. “He has helped us a lot on and off the court. I would love him to come play at Arkansas.”

The Hawks were ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed with Perry’s de­ci­sion to de-com­mit from Arkansas and then choose Mis­sis­sippi State in a span of two weeks, but wished him well.

It un­der­cut the nar­ra­tive of the Hawk 5 turn­ing into the Hog 5.

“It was sad be­cause I wanted him to be with us,” said Hill, who con­firmed his plan to ar­rive at Arkansas in Jan­uary 2019. “But he has got to do what he thinks is best for him, so I am go­ing to sup­port him if that is what he wants to do.”

That was a sen­ti­ment shared by Hen­der­son, who made it clear he would sign with Arkansas in Novem­ber.

“I’m happy for him, he’s my guy, he’s my team­mate,” Hen­der­son said. “I wanted him to come to Arkansas, but stuff hap­pens.”

Joe showed off his prow­ess from 3-point range for the Hawks dur­ing a run to the Sweet 16 in Ve­gas. Joe also took a classy ap­proach.

“I would have loved for him to have come with us, but I con­grat­u­lated him on his com­mit and hope he does big things over there ex­cept when he plays us,” Joe said. “We have got to just keep push­ing for­ward.”

Moss and his fel­low Hawks were among a num­ber of prospects Arkansas’ staff saw play sev­eral times in Las Ve­gas and Kansas City dur­ing the last week of the AAU sea­son.

The group in­cluded guards Nate Hin­ton (6-6, 185) of Char­lotte (N.C.) Gas­ton Day School, Eric Hunter (6-3, 170) of In­di­anapo­lis Charles A Tind­ley High School, Jor­dan Phillips (6-7, 190) of Cedar Hill, Texas, and Lan­ders Nol­ley (6-4, 175) of Fair­burn (Ga.) Langston Hughes.

Front court play­ers Arkansas staff watched were power for­wards Reg­gie Chaney (6-8, 230) of Find­ley Prep and Amanze Ngumezi (6-9, 235) of Sa­van­nah, Ga., and small for­wards Jeri­cole Hel­lums (6-6, 190) of St. Louis Cham­i­nade, Kaden Archie (6-6, 200) of Mid­loth­ian, Texas and Feron Hunt (6-7, 190) of Desoto, Texas.

The Ra­zor­backs are also known to be in­ter­ested in Ba­ton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep small for­ward Josh LeBlanc (6-7, 190).

“We may have lost one guy, but I am go­ing to do ev­ery­thing I can to help fin­ish out this class,” Hill said. “That’s al­ways been my goal.”

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