Missouri hotshot picks UA

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Jimmy Whitt
Jimmy Whitt

A long relationship finally turned into a commitment Tuesday for Arkansas when highly regarded point guard Jimmy Whitt orally committed to the Razorbacks.

Whitt, 6-3, 170 pounds, plays for Columbia (Mo.) Hickman and chose Arkansas over scholarship offers from Missouri, Marquette, Illinois, SMU and others.

Whitt said he relationship with Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson and associate head coach Melvin Watkins, along with the Razorbacks' style of play, convinced him.

"My heart wasn't at Missouri," Whitt said Tuesday during a ceremony at his school. "It was at Arkansas."

Whitt and his parents visited Fayetteville on Saturday, and a conversation with Anderson helped convince Whitt to be a Razorback.

"We had a really good talk for like an hour in his office," Whitt said. "He said I'll really be able to make an impact right away, and that's really important to me."

Whitt is rated the No. 21 shooting guard, No. 64 overall prospect in the nation and the No. 1 recruit in Missouri by ESPN. He had planned to take official visits to Arkansas, Missouri, Marquette, Illinois and SMU but decided to end his recruitment.

"There was just no reason to lead anyone on after I knew what I wanted to do," Whitt said.

Whitt averaged 22.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 4.4 steals and 1.4 blocks a game as a junior while leading Hickman to a 27-3 record and the Missouri Class 5 state title game.

Whitt's father, Jim, said his son's relationship with Anderson and Watkins goes back to their time at Missouri, where Anderson spent five years as the Tigers coach before leaving to take the Arkansas job.

"He would go to all of the youth camps," Jim Whitt said. "We're personal friends of both Anderson and Coach Watkins. We've always been very comfortable with the coaching staff and the style of play."

Whitt averaged 17.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists for KC Run GMC during the spring and summer.

"I think he will be a perfect fit for their system and his talents will be utilized to the fullest," Jim Whitt said. "I think Arkansas is on its way to doing great things, and I am happy that Jimmy will be a part of it."

Whitt said he plans to sign during the early signing period that runs Nov. 12-19. Oral commitments are nonbinding.

Sports on 08/20/2014