THE RECRUITING GUY:

Future Hogs Babb, Thompson get acquainted

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, April 20, 2014
Nick Babb (right) of the Arkansas All-Stars drives past Chris Jefferson of the Tennessee All-Stars Thursday during the Real Deal in the Rock boys all-star game at Hall high.
Nick Babb (right) of the Arkansas All-Stars drives past Chris Jefferson of the Tennessee All-Stars Thursday during the Real Deal in the Rock boys all-star game at Hall high.

Two future basketball Hogs were on display at the Mike Conley Jr. Arkansas-Tennessee All Star Classic at Little Rock Hall on Thursday night.

Guard Nick Babb, 6-4, 180 pounds, of Arlington (Texas) Martin and Forrest City forward Trey Thompson, 6-9, 260, were part of the Arkansas team that fell to Tennessee 81-78.

Babb showed up in four statistical categories, posting 9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He said he appreciated the Razorbacks fans in attendance.

“It was a lot of fun, it was a good experience knowing that they are coming out to support me even though it was not in Bud Walton or Fayetteville,” Babb said. “It was good knowing that they actually cared enough to come out here and show some support.”

Babb averaged 13.5 points, 7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.4 steals a game as a senior while shooting 51 percent from the field, 43 percent from beyond the three-point line.

“I feel good about my outside shot and getting to the basket and distributing to my teammates,” said Babb, who played point guard and shooting guard this season.“But I need to work on staying low with the ball … and just getting the handle a little bit tighter.”

Thompson was named the Arkansas MVP, totaling 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. Babb liked what he saw of his future teammate.

“I saw a lot, a lot that I really didn’t think he had,” Babb said of Thompson. “His footwork has gotten a lot better and it was great playing with him and getting a good feel for how he plays so far. I am just excited about getting in the gym with him.”

LANE’S WAY TO VISIT PAVED

Arkansas looks to be in good shape to get an unofficial visit from highly recruited cornerback Jaylon Lane after the Hogs extended a scholarship offer Tuesday evening.

“This offer really shakes up some things in my recruiting,” Lane said. “I’m for sure going to take a visit up there. Their spring game is on the 26th, so I’ve been talking to my pops and we’re going to set up something for that day.”

Lane, 6-1, 180, 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of Nacogdoches, Texas, has 29 scholarship offers after the Razorbacks and a few others, including Florida jumped on board. Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Missouri, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Ole Miss are some of the other offers.

The track record of first year Hogs defensive backs coach Clay Jennings of putting cornerbacks in the NFL has Lane’s attention. Jennings helped develop TCU cornerback Jason Verrett into a twotime All American, and Verrett is expected be to selected in next month’s NFL Draft.

“Since he did great things with him, I’m pretty sure he can develop me into a great corner,” Lane said of Jennings.“I’m for sure going to take a look and consider Arkansas.”

Lane, rated as a four-star recruit and the nation’s No. 74 prospect by ESPN, recorded 46 tackles and 5 interceptions as a junior. He also averaged 48 yards on 5 kickoff returns.

Lane, who has a 36.1-inch vertical jump, hasn’t always been just a football player.

“That used to be my first love, basketball and baseball, but I ended up switching to football,” he said.

Lane said he plans to major in criminal justice and eventually work with the youth.

“I want to be a juvenile probation officer to let kids know that just because they’re in situation at that moment, in time that it’s not at the end of the road,” Lane said. “There’s always second chances to straighten up.”

GETTING AN UP-CLOSE LOOK

Arkansas hosted about 20 prospects at Saturday’s football practice.

Two highly recruited offensive linemen: Gabe Megginson, 6-5, 280, 5.2 seconds in the 40, of Jacksonville, Ill., and Keanton Sutherland, 6-5, 280, 5.13, of Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus were on hand.

Numerous in-state sophomores were also in attendance, including McTelvin Agim, 6-3, 247, 4.68, quarterback Kasey Ford, 6-5, 245, of Bentonville, linebacker Deontre Hardwick, 6-1, 230, receiver Jordan Jones, 6-1, 170, 4.45, of Smackover, along with tight end-defensive end John Tate, 6-3, 240, and safety David Beasley, 6-2 1/2, 175.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 33 on 04/20/2014

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