Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Russellville's Taelon Peter just starting to heat up
Russellville’s Taelon Peter won the high jump at Saturday’s Meet of Champions in Pearcy with a jump of 6 feet, 10 inches.
Russellville senior shooting guard Taelon Peter hasn’t been on the radar of college coaches until recently. It appears his recruiting is just starting to heat up.
Peter, 6-4, 180 pounds, is averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4.5 assist and 3.5 steals while shooting 42% from beyond the three-point line for the Cyclones this season.
He played in one event with the 16-under Woodz Elite last spring, but the majority of his spring and summer was spent with a local team which limited his exposure to college coaches.
“He played on a local summer team,” Russellville Coach Kyle Pennington said. “He didn't play on a circuit and that’s what’s kind of got him behind in recruiting."
Peter has steadily improved this season.
“He’s a guy that gets better every time we practice, every time we play,” Pennington said. “Sometimes you hear that as a cliche, but this is really happening and I think you see that with his recruiting picking up the way it is.”
Athleticism isn’t an issue for Peter, who has a 38-inch vertical jump.
“He’s also a two-time champion in the high jump, he’s a 6-10 high jumper,” Peter said. “That’s where his recruiting started, but now he has really taken off on the basketball floor.”
He’s had several spectacular dunks this season.
“He’s a high flyer,” Pennington said. “He’s averaging two dunks in games. He’s done alley oops, he’s done off the backboard. He can fly.”
Peter has been receiving interest from numerous Division II schools and several top junior college programs. He recently qualified academically and is now seeing interest from Arkansas, Tulsa, Florida Atlantic, Stephen F. Austin, UCA and Missouri-Kansas City.
Razorback assistant coach Clay Moser saw Peter in action at the Arvest HoopFest in December.
“His upside is through the roof,” Pennington said. “I think that’s what Coach Moser sees right now. He’s a little bit under the radar and is a guy that can definitely be playing on TV in the next couple of years.”
Peter, who will visit Arkansas on Saturday, had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals in a 75-46 road win at Greenwood on Tuesday to help the Cyclones improve to 12-4 on the season and 2-0 in the 5A-West.
Pennington is looking forward to seeing Peter’s recruitment over the next few months.
“Now that he’s qualified, some Division I schools are coming in late and getting on him,” Pennington said. “So we’re excited to see how that goes.”
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