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.
Basketball recruiting begins to ramp up for Hogs
Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman talks about his new team during the State of the Hog event on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.
University of Arkansas basketball Coach Eric Musselman and his staff will hit the road recruiting on Monday, the first day of the recruiting period that runs until Nov. 10.
The coaches will see the Hogs' top prospects in the 2020 and 2021 classes over the next few weeks.
"Our first week we're going to focus on our 2020s, and our second week in September we're going to be focusing on our 2021s," said director of recruiting Michael Musselman, son of Eric Musselman "Our third week will be more of an evaluation period."
The coaches are expected to see about 25 prospects next week.
The NCAA forbids schools from talking about prospects by name, but it's known the Hogs are expected to see ESPN 5-star guards Moses Moody and Bryce Thompson, 4-star guards Khalen Robinson and Rondel Walker, 4-star centers Jaylin Williams and Eddie Lampkin, 247 4-star forward Chris Moore and others.
The coaches are looking to continue to build on relationships.
"We're moving on to more relationship building and just being around the kids and their families," Michael Musselman said. "Just a combination of going to practices and going to open gyms and workouts and in-home visits just depending on what the family would prefer and just meeting parents and strengthening relationships that we've already formed."
The early signing period for basketball is Nov. 13-20. Arkansas doesn't have a set number to ink during the early signing period.
"We're just shooting for the best players possible," Musselman said. "We've kind of sat down as a staff and evaluated how many scholarships we think we'll have open next year and kind of structured our visits around our official visit numbers."
The Hogs will likely host official visitors for the San Jose State football game on Sept. 21 and the Auburn contest on Oct. 19.
"The home football game weekends are obviously big things," Musselman said. "I think it really wows high school kids."
Arkansas is expected to host some prospects for unofficial visits during the Colorado State game on Sept. 14. Should a recruit and his family be unable to make an official visit during the two games, the Razorbacks may host during a non-football weekend.
"There's always that possibility, again at the end of the day its whatever works best with our recruits," Musselman said. "A lot of our recruits' parents are both working, so whatever fits best for them and can work into their schedule, we'll fit into our schedule."
Besides the usual touring of the campus and facilities along with meeting with the coaches, the Hogs have thought outside the box and have been doing a popular photo and video session with the prospects and coaches often replicating photos of famous NBA players.
One photo session showed 4-star junior forward Harrison Ingram and Coach Musselman copying a LeBron James and Dwyane Wade picture while playing the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I think its fun for the recruits to do something different," the younger Musselman said. "It's something they're not going to do on any other visits. I think it definitely helps our staff build a relationship with them. That also sparks interest in the kids along with the school. Now we have kids coming on and in the first five to ten minutes they're talking about the picture they would like to recreate."
The photos of recruits and the coaches on Twitter have created a buzz among other prospects.
"You know when you've come across a good idea when the kids themselves are thinking of stuff even before they're on their visit," Musselman said. "Anytime you can get Arkansas in their head before they're on campus is always a great thing."
Email Richard Davenport [email protected]
Sports on 09/06/2019
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