Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
Hogs signing big men early
Little Rock Hall’s Bobby Portis is scheduled to sign a national letter of intent with Arkansas today. Portis is a 6-9 1/2 forward who averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per game during the 2011-2012 season.
LITTLE ROCK The week-long early signing period for college basketball starts today, and Arkansas men’s Coach Mike Anderson and his staff are expected to sign two of the best big men in the nation, Little Rock Hall power forward Bobby Portis and center Moses Kingsley of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep.
Portis, 6-9 1/2, 220 pounds, will wait until Friday to sign his national letter of intent with the Hogs during an afternoon ceremony at the school. An All-Arkansas first-team selection by the
last year, he has led the Warriors to two consecutive Class 7A state titles. “
Being from Arkansas, it means coming up as a kid all you see is Razorback stuff,” Portis said. “If you go to a gas station, the first thing you see is Razorback stuff. You go anywhere, you see Razorbacks. It’s big for the state. If Arkansas loses a game, everybody gets down. But if you win, you see everyone happy.”
Hall Coach Jon Coleman said Portis, who averaged about 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 block shots per game as a junior, takes care of business on and off the floor.
“He’s a great student-athlete,” Coleman said. “He’s carried above a 3.0 [grade-point average] since he’s been at Hall. He’s logged big minutes since his sophomore year. He’s a very versatile athlete who has pumped a lot of energy into our program.”
Kingsley, 6-10, 220, is expected to sign and fax his letter of intent with the Razorbacks to Anderson today, but there will be a ceremony at his school Thursday afternoon. He and Portis have been teammates on the AAU Arkansas Wings the past two years.
Huntington Prep Coach Rob Fulford said he sees Kingsley, who moved to the United States from Nigeria two years ago, as a great addition to the Arkansas program.
“Moses is an extremely active player that can dominate the game defensively,” Fulford said. “His ability to challenge shots and protect the paint will be a huge asset to the style of play at Arkansas. He has great understanding of how to play and his offensive skill sets are improving daily.”
Portis is rated the No. 13 prospect in the country by Van Coleman, the national director of basketball for XOFan.com. Kingsley is rated the No. 52 prospect.
Arkansas women’s Coach Tom Collen is expected to sign three prospects during the early period.
Combination guard Kelsey Brooks, 5-9, of Olathe (Kan.) Northwest will sign Thursday, while combination guard McKenzie Adams, 5-9, of Frisco (Texas) Centennial will sign today. The Hogs received an oral commitment from Bria Pitts, 5-8, of Tulsa East Central on Sunday and she is also expected to sign.
Jacksonville 6-2 guard-forward Jessica Jackson committed to the Razorbacks in August but has decided to wait until April’s spring signing period to sign. Jackson has received more than 30 scholarship offers, including ones from Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Kentucky.
Jackson, who’s rated the No. 14 prospect in the nation by Dan Olson of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report website, didn’t want to go into detail on why she will delay signing.
“I’m going to hold off until I know for sure, for sure,” Jackson said.
She said Collen is aware of her plans.
“He knows I’m not signing,” Jackson said. “He was like it’s my decision but he doesn’t think it’s such a good idea.”
Arkansas State, which is expected to sign recruits for its men’s and women’s teams, does not release the names of players until the school has received a copy of their signed letter of intent.
Spokesmen for the teams said women’s basketball Coach Brian Boyer and men’s basketball Coach John Brady expect all their recruiting additions to sign the letters and submit them to ASU today.
Sports, Pages 21 on 11/14/2012