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.
The Recruiting Guy:
Florida forward has good vibes about UA staff
University of Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman and his staff's focus on development has an ESPN 4-star prospect's attention.
Small forward Alex Fudge, 6-8, 178 pounds, of Jacksonville (Fla.) Lee has dreams of playing in the NBA and looks at Musselman and his staff's NBA background as a big plus.
"The development over there is crazy," Fudge said. "I mean I know if I were to go to Arkansas I would be developed the right way. Also, they have experience on their team. All the coaching staff there they've been through the NBA. They have coached or have been in the NBA, so the experience there is great."
In addition to Musselman's vast NBA background, associate head coach David Patrick was an NBA scout for the Houston Rockets, assistant coach Clay Moser has extensive NBA resume, while assistant Corey Williams played with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1992-93 and with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1993-94. Director of student-athlete development Earl Boykins played in the NBA for 13 years.
"They know what they're talking about and they know what gets you to the next level," Fudge said. "The fact they're going to help me and they're going to put me through things the NBA might do as well I know the development and preparation for their kids is going to be great."
Fudge has approximately 30 offers from Arkansas, Louisville, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Southern Cal, TCU, Texas A&M, Wake Forest and others.
He averaged 16 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3 blocks. 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals a game as a junior while shooting 55% from the field to help lead the Generals to a 23-5 record.
ESPN national director of recruiting Paul Biancardi also rates Fudge the No. 13 small forward and the No. 57 overall prospect in the nation for the 2021 class and the No. 4 recruit in Florida.
"He's really skilled in terms of his ability to shoot and he has great length and good athleticism," Biancardi said. "His body is getting stronger. He's an emerging prospect of the class 21. I've had a class to see him multiple times."
Fudge said members of the coaching staff are communicating with him, including Musselman, Patrick and Williams. He said talking to that many staff members isn't the norm.
"Not really, I don't see that often where all the coaches are reaching out to me," Fudge said. "That just shows the fact that school wants me and it's not even a want it's like a need so they're really recruiting me hard."
He said he and Williams are in contact the most.
"He calls me almost everyday," Fudge said. "Just checking on me to let me know they want me at Arkansas."
His mother Leiah was a highly regarded prospect from Lafayette, La., that signed with Southern Cal but instead attended Palm Beach Community College in Florida and finished her career at Paine College in Georgia. She had a coaching stint at Bethune-Cookman before becoming a local physical education teacher.
"She could go, she could ball," Fudge said. "That's where I get it from."
Patrick played point guard at Louisiana-Lafayette in 1997-2000 where he met his wife Cassie.
"His wife is from the area of Lafayette," Fudge said. "He said he comes back to Lafayette a lot of times. I was actually in Lafayette not too long ago."
Fudge calls Musselman and Patrick "great people".
"I mean Coach Musselman his energy matches him," Fudge said. "He's just a great person overall. And I like the fact he's all about his players, and he's all about dedicating himself to the team. They show me a lot of clips and videos of them like they'll have a kickball day. They'll just join up at a field and play kickball. They'll go to coach's house and get in the pool. The vibe with them is just great."
He described how he'll sort through his list schools to find one.
"I go off based on what vibe I'm getting from the coaches," Fudge said. "Like if I'm getting calls from them everyday or they're texting me great information or even if they're hitting me up to see how I'm doing That's the energy I pick up from them and I give it right back so if they're showing interest like everybody is I'll show interest back."
Fudge, who said he'll probably narrow his list of schools when summer basketball is over, is leaning toward signing next year during the spring.
E-mail Richard Davenport at [email protected]
Alex Fudge highlights
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