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.
THE RECRUITING GUY:
Nation’s best returning to Real Deal in the Rock
Malik Monk of Bentonville lays it in over K.J. Hill of North Little Rock Monday, March 10, 2014 during the 7A state tournament in Conway.
The 10th annual Real Deal in the Rock, being held Friday-Sunday in central Arkansas, will feature the usual amount of nationally ranked prospects and Arkansas recruits.
Malik Newman, a 6-4 guard of Mo Williams Elite from Dallas, is rated by ESPN’s No. 2 prospect in the nation and is the No. 1 prospect by several other recruiting services. His teammate, 6-5 sophomore shooting guard Terrance Ferguson, is ranked the No. 8 prospect in the 2016 class by ESPN. Both are being pursued by the Razorbacks.
The Arkansas Wings Elite will participate and are led by Bentonville’s 6-5 sophomore guard Malik Monk. ESPN rates Monk, a major Arkansas target, as the No. 7 prospect in the 2016 class.
“I want to see him play against other great players,” said Bill Ingram, the tournament’s director and founder.“I’ve seen him play against other great players and he really looks good then. Not saying his high school team and competition isn’t great, but this is a different level of players.”
One of the nation’s top big men, Doral Moore Jr., 7-0, 215 pounds, will play for the Atlanta Express. ESPN rates him the No. 21 recruit in the country, but Ingram said he believes he’ll shoot up the rankings.
“He’ll move up in the rankings and will likely move into the top five at some point,” Ingram said.
The tournament has seen numerous players go on to the NBA, including John Wall, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Mike Conley Jr. and Derrick Rose.
“This year won’t be any different as far as future NBA players,” Ingram said. “There will be a great list of kids that will likely end up in the league.”
Forward Keelon Lawson, a 6-7, 200-pound Memphis commitment, and his brother Dedric, 6-8, 195, are the headliners for Team Penny of Memphis. Keelon is ranked by ESPN the No. 20 prospect in the 2015 class, while Dedric, an Arkansas recruit, is the No. 5 prospect in the 2016 class.
“Rumors are the younger brother is he’s going somewhere else,” Ingram said. “You never know about recruiting.”
Another major in-state target for the Razorbacks, North Little Rock guard KeVaughn Allen, 6-3, 170, will also play in the tournament. He’ll suit up with the Arkansas Hoyas.
“I really think KeVaughn is the best player in the state,” Ingram said of Allen, who’s rated ESPN’s No. 27 recruit in the 2015 class. “I love the way he plays the game. He spreads the ball around and doesn’t have a selfish bone in his body. But he always ends up scoring 25 or 26 points off 12 or 13 shots.”
The Arkansas Hawks will feature sophomore shooting guard Deshawn Williams, who played this season at Prime Prep Academy in Dallas after previously playing at Maumelle. The Hogs are also eyeing the 6-0 and 160-pounder.
“They’re really high on him,” Ingram said. “UConn offered him last week. He’s young and loaded with talent. He’s a fantastic scoring guard. He’s played a lotfor Prime Prep. He had 27 [points] when Prime Prep played Findlay Prep in a Las Vegas tournament.”
Hawks and North Pulaski sophomore guard Rashawn Langston, 6-3, 180, is another one being watched by Arkansas.
“He’s real athletic and has potential to be a really good player,” Ingram said. “He’s one of those kids that fits the mold Arkansas is looking for. He has a great motor and a great attitude. He plays above the rim and can make open shots.”
More information on Real Deal in the Rock and team schedules can be seen at www.realdealintherock.com.
Arkansas fans will be able to to see two Razorbacks signee in the Mike Conley Jr. Arkansas vs. Tennessee All Star Game at Little Rock Hall on Thursday at 7:30 pm.
Forrest City forward Trey Thompson, 6-9, 260, and guard Nick Babb, 6-4, 180, of Arlington (Texas) Martin, will lead the Arkansas team against the best from Tennessee.
Bill Ingram said Conley, the Memphis Grizzles’ point guard, helped make the event happen.
“All the credit should go to Mike Conley Jr.,” Ingram said. “He’s an Arkansan. His parents still live here and has a bunch of relatives here.”
“We brought in Nick Babb who most haven’t had a chance to see in person. It will be a great opportunity for people to come out and see him. He’ll play along side with Trey Thompson.”
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Pages 21 on 04/15/2014