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:
4-star point guard hoping to visit Fayetteville
The University of Arkansas is one of four schools recruiting 4-star point guard Austin Nunez the hardest, and because of that the Razorbacks will get an official visit if the NCAA dead period is lifted.
“I would say overall how they’ve been handling the recruiting process with me,” Nunez said of what Arkansas is doing well. “They hit me three times a week just checking on me. What I’m doing. How I’m doing. Texting me whenever they’re playing so I can watch them play. I like everyone on the staff.”
Nunez, 6-2, 170 pounds, of San Antonio Wagner, also lists Baylor, Texas and Virginia as other schools most actively recruiting him for the class of 2022.
Coach Eric Musselman, associate head coach David Patrick and others on the Razorbacks staff — including director of student-athlete development Earl Boykins — have made Nunez a priority.
“They’ve done a great job from Muss to coach Patrick and Boykins,” Nunez’s father, Lupe, said. “Every week he consistently hears from them. I think they’ve done a remarkable job. They’re all on the same page. All saying the same things so you definitely know the conversations are all being had in their office and style of recruitment.”
The younger Nunez said Arkansas’ pace of play is a good fit for him.
“They said they like the way I can shoot and they like the way I read pick-and-rolls, so they said they would put me in a lot of situations like that and to be able to make others around me better because that’s what I’m really good at, I think,” Nunez said.
His father recalls how the Arkansas staff gave a breakdown of some of his son’s early season games.
“They kind of gave a detail of every game,” Lupe Nunez said. “The positives and negatives and what he needs to work on. So I think they’re really in tuned to who he is personally and in addition to on the court.”
Austin Nunez appreciates how Musselman and the staff will share videos that give him insight to the program.
“They’ll send me videos of what they’re talking about before the game in the locker room and what they’re trying to do when they get out there and their whole game plan for whoever they’re playing,” he said. “I say that’s pretty cool. You get the feeling of how it is in the locker room from the video.”
If the NCAA lifts the dead period, which would allow visits to college campuses for the first time since March, Lupe Nunez said he and his son will make their way to Fayetteville.
“I know whenever visitations or official visits open up, we’re definitely going to make a trip up to Arkansas,” he said. “That will be one of three [to] four trips we make in the spring.”
Baylor, Texas and Virginia would also get visitsz. Cavaliers Coach Tony Bennett and director of recruiting/player development Kyle Getter are in contact with Nunez and plan to do a Zoom meeting with him today.
“Their recruiting format has been playing in the ACC conference, the guards [Bennett’s] been able to develop from college to the NBA, and the success they’re having in the NBA,” Lupe Nunez said.
Baylor Coach Scott Drew has been talking to both father and son.
“That’s been pretty consistent, I would say, for the last six months or so, as well with the assistant coaches on the staff with me,” Lupe Nunez said.
Texas Coach Shaka Smart and assistant Cody Hatt head up the Longhorns’ recruiting efforts.
"That’s kind of a unique one just because Shaka and him have had a relationship for a long time,” Lupe Nunez said.
Nunez was the director for Under Armour-sponsored Texas Hardwork for 10 years before the program merged with John Lucas’ JL3 Elite, an Nike EYBL program, in September. Former Texas center Will Baker and forward Gerald Liddell played for Team Hardwork before announcing transfer plans in November and January, respectively.
Prior to the Hogs defeating Missouri on the road, Lupe Nunez believed Arkansas was one of a couple of teams not getting proper respect nationally.
“[Musselman] gives them a lot of freedom,” he said. “Moses Moody is able to go out there and play as a freshman and play though mistakes. They just have a good pedigree of NBA knowledge from top to bottom.”
Austin Nunez gave a rundown on how he will make his decision.
“I would say it comes down with me being comfortable where the staff is with me and how much of an opportunity I’ll get to play when I get there,” he said. “I would also say me fitting in with the players and the offense they run.”
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