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.
Missouri power forward likes what he sees in Hogs
A major recruiting target of Arkansas men's basketball Coach Mike Anderson and his staff made an unofficial visit to Fayetteville on Wednesday and received a scholarship offer.
Forward Juwan Morgan, 6-8, 215 pounds of Waynesville, Mo., is rated the nation's No. 23 power forward and No. 2 prospect in Missouri by ESPN. He reports 10 other scholarship offers, including ones from Vanderbilt, Creighton, Washington and Wake Forest.
Morgan, who has a 3.9 grade point average, said he enjoyed meeting with Arkansas' academic support staff.
"They were real straightforward with what they do," Morgan said. "They made sure to get their point across that over in the gym it's all basketball, but over there it's strictly academics. They know what happens on the court can't happen if you don't get your classes right. That's one thing that stood out."
Morgan, who plays for Mokan Elite of Kansas City during the spring and summer, was named the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League's Most Improved Player earlier this month. He's averaging 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 69 percent from the field.
Morgan and his father, Darren, watched the Hogs work out and then had a meeting with Anderson in his office.
"He showed us a video about Arkansas history, and we talked about a little bit about Arkansas," Morgan said. "The businesses in the surrounding area like Wal-Mart, Tyson, J.B. Hunt and things like that. Then that's when he said I have a scholarship offer."
Morgan said he doesn't take the Razorbacks' offer for granted despite his ever increasing total of offers.
"I told him thank you. I appreciate everything," Morgan said. "I don't take it lightly that they showed interest and offered me."
Morgan, who plans to narrow his list of schools down to five or seven in July, said he believes he'll know which school is right for him.
"Everyone I've talked to that's been through the recruiting process -- including some of my own peers, coaches and adults -- they said when you're at the school, you'll know that it's that," he said. "I've had a couple of feelings like that so far. I'm going to wait until I take more visits."
Morgan said Arkansas is one of the schools that has given him positive vibes.
"They made me feel at home," he said
Morgan also said his father came away equally impressed with the trip.
"The thing he looks for the most is when he asks questions and if the person he asks has to sit there and go, 'Um, um,' or they're like they know what they're talking about," Morgan said. "They carry themselves a certain way. That's what he looks for and he said he was really impressed with everybody he talked to there."
An early offer
Central Arkansas Christian's Christyn Williams didn't have expectations while attending Arkansas women's June 23 Elite Basketball Camp under Coach Jimmy Dykes.
But when Dykes invited her back the next day to talk, she received some startling news.
"He said, 'Remember at 12:26, June 24, 2014, I offered you to play ball at the University of Arkansas,' " said Williams, a 5-9 guard who is entering the ninth grade. "I was like. 'Thank you.' "
Williams, who turned 14 on May 20, also has schools like Notre Dame, Nebraska, Purdue, Wichita State, Kansas State and others interested in her talents. She plays spring and summer basketball for the Arkansas Banshees.
"She's sometimes plays two or three grades up, but you wouldn't know it," said Lee Shannon, coach of the Banshees. "Everybody watches her and think. 'Holy cow, that kid is just an eighth grader. She's just a freak."
Dykes and assistant coach Christy Smith watched Williams during the April evaluation period.
"I like the way he coaches," Williams said of Dykes. "He has a spiritual background and not a lot of colleges have that. He's a great coach, and I like the way the players get along with each other."
Williams said she doesn't expect to make her college decision anytime soon.
"I have to weigh my options," she said. "I'm not even in high school yet.
A two-week recruiting dead period for Division I schools in all sports began Monday and will last until July 13. Colleges are prohibited from hosting prospects for on-campus visits during the period.
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved the the new rule to provide a break for college coaches and recruits from the hectic recruiting process.
E-mail Richard Davenport at email@example.com
Sports on 07/01/2014