The Recruiting Guy:

Musselman's NBA pedigree a boost

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2019
New Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman waves to fans after landing at Drake Field on Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
New Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman waves to fans after landing at Drake Field on Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Fayetteville.

Playing professionally is a dream of many high school athletes, and when a college coach's resume includes the NFL or NBA, it garners the attention of prospects.

Newly hired University of Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman's resume includes six stops in the NBA as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies, as well as head coaching stints with the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

Kyree Walker highlights

arkansasonline.com/49Walker

ESPN national director of recruiting Paul Biancardi said Musselman's NBA experience helps him with recruits.

"I think what it does, it creates a conversation in recruiting that other college coaches can't say they've been in the NBA," Biancardi said. "So what I think it does is ... opens doors to conversations because you've been somewhere the kids want to go."

John Calipari of Kentucky, Lon Kruger of Oklahoma and Leonard Hamilton of Florida State are some of the other colleges coaches with NBA experience.

"You still have to prove yourself, establish yourself in the college ranks as being able to coach a college player to get to that level," Biancardi said. "There's a difference from being an NBA coach and then coming into college and coaching someone to get to the NBA. But certainly the expertise of what the NBA looks for is a part of what their attraction is as a college head coach."

[WALLY HALL: Yurachek flexes to secure his Musselman]

Biancardi, who was a college coach for more than 20 years, was named Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2004 as the head coach at Wright State. He was an analyst on an ESPN broadcast of a Nevada game this season and was impressed with Musselman.

"He's a fantastic college coach," Biancardi said. "He does a good job of teaching the game, coaching the game. He's big into player development."

Being at Arkansas will allow Musselman a chance to pursue better talent.

"Now he's going to have a chance to recruit more NBA type of players," Biancardi said. "Not all will be NBA players, but some of them certainly will be."

Early targets

Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman wasted no time in extending his first two reported scholarship offers.

Musselman offered juniors Kyree Walker and Dalen Terry of Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix on Monday, the same day he was introduced as the Hogs' new coach.

[PHOTOS/VIDEO: New UA basketball coach Musselman insists talent already here]

ESPN rates Walker a five-star prospect, No. 4 small forward and No. 13 overall prospect in the 2020 class, while Terry is a four-star guard according to 247Sports.

"He's a kid that's super athletic," Hillcrest Prep Coach Nick Weaver said about Walker. "Big body, an NBA body. Probably one of the best defenders you'll see in the whole country. A lockdown defender. He's a guy that's super versatile, super athletic, can play a one through a three."

Weaver said Walker has high character and a strong work ethic.

"He fits Muss's style as far as defensive, long, athletic guards that get out there and create havoc with their defense," Weaver said. "He's a hard kid to guard."

[MORE: Yurachek says vision of program led to Anderson firing]

Walker, 6-6, also was offered by Kansas on Monday. He's thinking about reclassifying and becoming a 2019 signee.

"That's a decision the family is going to make," Weaver said. "I know they're going through it right now. I know they've talked about it and they very highly considered it. So if he did, it wouldn't surprise me."

Musselman recruited Walker at Nevada, and the Wolf Pack reportedly were one of his top two schools along with Memphis. Weaver believes Walker will visit Arkansas.

"After talking to him today and talking with everybody, I believe he will take an official visit to Arkansas," Weaver said.

Terry, 6-7, also has offers from California, Utah, Arizona State and others. He averaged 11.2 assists a game this past season.

"Super long, 7-foot wing span," Weaver said. "He gets everybody involved. Super efficient. He can also play a one through a three. Very versatile. Dalen is a knockdown three-point shooter. He's a guy you cannot leave open."

Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]

Sports on 04/09/2019

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