THE RECRUITING GUY:

Hog watchers can get an eyeful

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, March 9, 2014
North Little Rock High's basketball player Anton Beard signs with the Arkansas Razorbacks November 14, 2013 at North Little Rock High School.
Photo by Melissa Gerrits
North Little Rock High's basketball player Anton Beard signs with the Arkansas Razorbacks November 14, 2013 at North Little Rock High School.

CONWAY - Arkansas fans were able to get a glimpse of one Razorbacks signee and two other major targets of the Hogs on Friday in the Class 7A boys basketball state tournament at Buzz Bolding Arena.

North Little Rock point guard Anton Beard, who signed with Arkansas in November, and junior guard KeVaughn Allen led the Charging Wildcats to a 77-63 victory over West Memphis in the quarterfinals. Beard scored 17 points and Allen had 19 points and six rebounds to set up an anticipated match up with Bentonville and sophomore standout Malik Monk at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

“Malik is an all-around great player,” Beard said. “He’s one of the top [players] in the country, guaranteed. He’s going to do what he does, but at the end of the day it’s not just a one-man game.”

Allen, who was expected to take an unofficial visit to Florida on Saturday for the Gators’ game against Kentucky, is also eager to play against Monk.

“He’s very explosive,” Allen said. “He’s a good player. He can shoot the ball and play defense.”

Allen, 6-3, 170 pounds, has scholarship offers from 10 schools, including Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Connecticut, Memphis, Baylor and Mississippi State. He rated the No. 27 recruit in the nation for the 2015 class by ESPN.

He plans to take his five official visits.

“I’m going to Arkansas, Florida and Kansas,” Allen said. “I haven’t made a decision on the others.”

Allen, who was named Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Sophomore of the Year last season, and Beard said they had taken notice of the Hogs’ recent hot streak before Saturday’s loss at Alabama..

“I like the style they play,” Allen said. “Like Anton said, people doubted them and I just don’t want to see that. They’ve been winning lately, and they’re a good all-around school.”

Allen said he wants to narrow his list of choices to five by the end of the summer.

MONK’S DUNK

Bentonville guard Malik Monk wowed the crowd during Friday night’s against Cabot at the state tournament with a spectacular one-handed alley-oop dunk.

The dunk brought the crowd to its feet and video of it quickly spread on Twitter along with comments from several in crowd, including Clint Ashcraft, Conway’s football coach, who posted, “Wow! Best dunk I’ve ever seen.”

Monk, 6-4, 173 pounds, showed off his athletic ability while scoring 23 points to lead the Tigers to a 67-36 victory. He is rated the No. 1 shooting guard and the No. 7 prospect in the nation for the 2016 class by ESPN.

He was low-key about the dunk.

“We run it a lot in practice, and today we executed it real well,” Monk said. “Tyrik [Dixon] just threw it up and I had to go get it.”

Monk, whose brother Marcus played for Arkansas’ football and basketball teams, has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Memphis, Florida, Connecticut, Kansas and Indiana. He said he and his teammates used the dunk as motivation.

KEEPING HER WORD

K’tara Lopez, the mother of highly sought running back Chris Warren III of Rockwall, Texas, had a difficult week before her son’s scheduled March 1 visit to Arkansas.

She attended her father’s funeral and spent a week in Oregon helping her mother. She arrived back in Dallas late Friday night before the Arkansas trip and didn’t get to bed until 1:30 Saturday morning. Three hours later, it was time to head to Fayetteville.

K’tara said her respect for Arkansas running backs Coach Joel Thomas kept her from canceling the trip.

“I would’ve stayed in bed if it wasn’t for the running backs coach,” she said. “There’s only two coaches I know that I would be like, I promised them I would get my butt out of bed.”

Warren, 6-2, 227 pounds, 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is considered to one of the top prospects in the nation and has scholarship offers from 18 schools, including Arkansas, Texas. Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Stanford and Georgia.

He rushed 174 times for 1,059 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore and had more than 700 yards last season before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the fifth game.

“All I could think of was he’s shown genuine interest in Christopher, even without an offer or whatever the case maybe,” Lopez said. “He was concerned after his injury. He was one of the first coaches to reach out to me, and with that being said he also took the time out to explain different stuff to me and be a resource when I needed one.”

“I was like, I gave him my word I’m going to get my butt up even though I don’t want to. His character is just wonderful.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 29 on 03/09/2014

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