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:
Derrian Ford labels Arkansas experience 'amazing'
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.
Fayetteville- ESPN 4-star prospect Derrian Ford’s official visit to Arkansas was a success.
“This experience was amazing,” said Ford, who arrived Tuesday and left Thursday morning. “Everything went great. I had a great time with Coach (Eric) Musselman and his staff and I feel like our relationship got stronger.”
Ford, 6-4, 205 pounds, of Magnolia, has 27 scholarship offers from schools such as Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Baylor, Kansas, Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, TCU, Oklahoma State and other programs.
“I got to learn a lot about the campus and I just feel that I developed a strong relationship with them because it was actually physical instead of virtual, and it’s always better face to face I feel like," Ford said. "He makes it more than basketball."
He felt a strong family atmosphere around Musselman’s program while on the visit.
“He does a lot of family stuff with the players since they’re far from home, so he’s like their second dad,” Ford said.
Ford was named the Class 4A Player of the Year by the Arkansas Basketball Coaches Association and was a first-team selection of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps team after averaging 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists per game as a junior.
ESPN also rates him the No. 8 shooting guard and No. 42 overall recruit for the 2022 class.
The highlight of the visit was watching the Razorbacks practice.
“How they get up and down, how they have so much they do, how they put it into an NBA perspective,” Ford said of what stood out. “I think that was the greatest part.”
High school practices are much different than the way Arkansas conducts practice.
“They move very fast and the coaches do a lot of moving with the players also,” Ford said. “The coaches actually get in there and work with them.”
Being able to spend time with Musselman helped Ford.
“He’s just a great person and a great coach,” Ford said. “He really interacts with his players on and off the court.”
Ford will attend the prestigious Pangos All-American Camp in Las Vegas on June 6-8 and then start to sort out other visits. He will return to Fayetteville to attend Arkansas’ two-day camp June 12-13
Arkansas’ academic support also caught Ford’s attention.
“They have a lot of tutors to help you,” he said. “The only way you’re going to fail is if you want to. They’re not going to let you fail.”
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.