The Recruiting Guy

Sophomore guards enjoy their home-state visit

Magnolia's Derrian Ford (20) puts up a shot over Mills' Orion Virden (4) during the first quarter of the Panthers' 78-76 win over Mills in the Class 4A boys basketball state championship on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs.

Magnolia sophomore guard Derrian Ford on Friday made his first trip to Fayetteville since Eric Musselman became the coach at the University of Arkansas.

"It was a great experience. The coaching staff was amazing," Ford said. "They have a nice facility. I got a chance to go into the cafeteria, and the nutrition is really amazing. It really gets you prepared for the NBA, and with all the NBA experience on the coaching staff they really know how the NBA is set up."

Ford, 6-2, 181 pounds, has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and others.

"They sounded like they wanted me to be a part of their family," Ford said of the Razorbacks' coaching staff. "They were straightforward, they were honest, and they said they would like to have me as a Hog."

Ford was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Underclassman of the Year after averaging 19 points and six rebounds while leading Magnolia to the Class 4A state title last season. He was named the MVP of the title game after scoring a game-high 28 points and having 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the Panthers' 78-76 overtime victory over Mills.

He tried on a Razorback uniform and took pictures.

"That was a great feeling, especially when I got to put the uniform on," Ford said. "The uniform felt like it fit me. It was a great experience taking the pictures and having individual discussions with the coaches."

Ford, who has a 4.0 grade-point average, plans to make a return trip to Fayetteville. Auburn and Missouri are two other schools he plans to visit.

Learning more about Arkansas' nutrition plan was eye-opening.

"You have to have the right kind of body to play in the NBA," Ford said. "They have no fried foods in the cafeteria. It's like all healthy, like fruits, and they have smoothies and shakes. So nutrition stood out to me and let me know I should take nutrition more seriously."

Promising sophomore guard Javion Guy-King also visited with Ford.

"I really loved the coaching staff. They were real caring and gave a good tour and impression," Guy-King said. "I like the facilities and the campus as a whole."

Guy-King, 6-4, 180, of Mills is drawing interest from Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Tulane, Auburn, Vanderbilt and others.

He averaged 5.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and a steal as a freshman for Sylvan Hills. Guy-King said the Arkansas coaches let him know they were interested.

"They basically told me they wanted to keep the hometown talent home and things like the uniform looks real good on me and things like that," said Guy-King, who attended a Vanderbilt camp on Saturday.

Guy-King and Ford were teammates for the Little Rock-based 16-under Team South during the spring and summer.

He's focused on having a good sophomore season at Mills.

"Things I would like to accomplish as a sophomore is getting stronger, making all state, pick up a few offers, lead my team all around, and try to get a state championship," Guy-King said.

Email Richard Davenport at

Sports on 08/04/2019