By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — It was a busy, recruiting-packed 48 hours at the end of the week for Arkansas men’s basketball coaches as Head Hog Eric Musselman and his three assistants ventured out together for their first recruiting trip as a staff followed by making their first direct contact with several coveted 2021 prospects — all of which resulted in five new offers.
Musselman, associate head coach Chris Crutchfield, assistant coach Corey Williams, and assistant coach Clay Moser traveled to Charlottesville, VA, on Thursday to join approximately 500 college coaches and a limited number of NBA personnel for the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp — an annual event that for the first time (per new NCAA rules) was allowed to have college coaches in attendance (for 24 hours from 2 p.m. Thursday till 2 p.m. Friday) to evaluate high school prospects.
The Razorbacks coaches got to evaluate several current Arkansas offers in action — including 2020 5-star guards Moses Moody(6-5, Little Rock native) and Bryce Thompson (6-4 guard, Booker T. Washington in Tulsa) who both played well — in addition to new prospects.
By the end of the day Friday, Musselman and his staff extended three new scholarship offers to players who attended the camp — 2020 Cam’Ron Fletcher (6-6 wing / small forward, St. Louis Vashon, 4-star prospect), 2020 D.J. Steward (6-3 guard, Chicago Whitney Young, 4-star prospect), and 2021 Moussa Diabate (6-9 forward, DME Academy in Florida, 5-star prospect).
After wrapping up their Thursday/Friday stop in Virginia, the Arkansas coaches returned to Fayetteville and got busy wearing out the phone lines starting shortly after midnight Saturday as June 15 marked the first time college coaches could make direct contact with prospects in the 2021 class (high school juniors-to-be).
2021 Arkansas offer Kennedy Chandler (6-0 point guard, Briarcrest Christian in Memphis, national Top 30 / 4-star prospect) heard from Musselman, Crutchfield, and Arkansas staffer Anthony Ruta shortly after midnight. Chandler considered visiting Arkansas over the weekend, but his father, Kylan Chandler, said he’ll likely visit in August. Chandler’s cousin is former Hogs All American and NBA first-round draft pick Lee Mayberry, who gave a glowing review of Chandler’s game.
“Kennedy is a gym rat who loves to play,” said Mayberry, a Tulsa, Okla., native who currently coaches at Oral Roberts. “Reminds me of a throwback kind of point guard who looks to pass first but can score to keep the defense honest. He’s the kind of player anybody would love to play with. His team wins games!”
Arkansas also reached out to two of the top in-state 2021 prospects — 16U Joe Johnson Hawks Jalen Ricks (6-6 wing, played at Sylvan Hills 2017-19) and Terran Williams (6-4 wing, Barton) — as Hogs assistant coach Corey Williams contacted both on Saturday. Both hold offers from Oklahoma State and TCU (Terran Williams also recently picked up an Auburn offer while on an unofficial visit), and both are interested in the Hogs.
“The conversation was mostly about scheduling a visit … (and) what their staff offers as far as NBA experience,” said Ricks, who also heard from coaches at Texas, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, and Arkansas State on Saturday. “It’s great for the new (Arkansas) staff to be involved with me.”
Razorbacks coaches also used their first 2021-direct-contact opportunities to extended two scholarship offers on Saturday —Manny Obaseki (6-2 combo guard, Allen, TX, national Top 35 / 4-star prospect) and Jerrell Colbert (6-9 forward / center, Cornerstone Christian Academy in Texas, national Top 25 / 5-star prospect).
For Obaseki, his Saturday interaction with Arkansas came in two parts: 1) Hog coaches texted him early in the day but did not speak with him, yet Obaseki was excited about the contact nonetheless: “Arkansas is one of my dream schools to play for and I’m extremely interested,” he said. “I’m very excited.” 2) Later Saturday night, Arkansas made contact again and Obaseki followed up with a two-word recap of the conversation: “Arkansas offered.” He also picked up offers from Texas Tech, Illinois, and TCU on Saturday to go with previous offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and SMU.
Arkansas coaches also contacted at least four more 2021 prospects who already held Hog offers — Harrison Ingram (6-7 combo forward, Dallas St. Mark’s, national Top 35 / 5-star prospect), Michael Foster (6-9 forward, Hllcrest Prep in Phoenix, national Top 10 / 5-star prospect), Jaxson Robinson (6-6 wing, Ada, OK, national Top 50 / 4-star prospect), and Daimion Collins (6-9 forward, Atlanta, TX, national Top 100 prospect).
“Coach Corey Williams reached out to me and we had a good conversation,” Ingram said.
For more details on how Arkansas recruits did during the NBPA Top 100 Camp (which ran June 11-16), click the link below to Hogville.net (includes stats, results, analysis, and more) …