Hoop Hogs Recruiting Notebook: Updates on Diawara, Stith and Others in 2019 and 2020 Classes

By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — 2019 Arkansas recruit Mahamadou Diawara (6-10 with 7-3 wingspan, Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia, ESPN 4-star prospect) said he’s planning to take an official visit to Arkansas later in March.
“Coach (Melvin) Watkins told me a couple of days ago they will get me in for a visit in March,” Diawara said Thursday.
“Yes,” Diawara responded when asked if he’d commit to the Hogs if an offer is extended on his expected OV to Arkansas. “It’s almost April (spring signing period) … I’m about to set up some visits soon.”
In addition to Arkansas, Diawara said he’s considering visits to North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Oklahoma State, and Tulane. He holds offers from Georgia Tech, Penn State, Temple, Virginia Commonwealth, Rhode Island, and others.
Watkins and Arkansas assistant coach Scotty Thurman were on hand in early February when Diawara scored 16 points in a game during the Massanutten Circuit tournament. He averaged 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game in 2018-19.
Diawara took part in the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp in July, and earlier this year he was named a nominee for consideration for the 2019 McDonald’s All American game. 
He spent time in Bentonville and Fayetteville last year — his sister is a student at Arkansas — and he played pickup games with current Razorbacks, including going head-to-head against Arkansas sophomore center Daniel Gafford. He’s a big fan of Arkansas’s coaching staff and the Razorbacks’ basketball program, and has been vocal in saying so. 
“Arkansas needs me,” Diawara said in February. “I will make Arkansas great again, I promise.”
2019 juco big man Shawn Stith picks up Arkansas offer, plans to visit when Hogs’ season is over
2019 junior college big man Shawn Stith (6-8, 255, power forward / center, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, by way of Oakland, CA) has picked up a scholarship offer from Arkansas and is interested in the Hogs, his coach Andy Ground confirmed on Thursday.
“Shawn is very interested and waiting on (Arkansas) to set up a visit after (the Hogs’) season is over,” Ground said. 
Arkansas associate head coach Melvin Watkins and assistant coach Scotty Thurman watched Stith play for the first time in person recently.
“Last week, they watched us play in the league championship,” Ground said. “Both (Watkins and Thurman) were at the game. Coach Thurman watched tape on him over the last two months.”
Stith, a sophomore who will have two years of playing eligibility at the NCAA Division 1 level beginning in 2019-20, has been recruited by a host of mid-major D1 schools in Long Beach State, Idaho, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Bakersfield, and Grand Canyon. 
“(Stith) had a bunch that offered early but he did not take any visits,” Ground said. “He wanted to wait.”
Stith, a nimble-footed big who can play with his back to the basket and facing up, was recently named ’18-19 Orange Empire Conference Co-MVP. He averaged 15.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists for the Gauchos while shooting 61.4% from the field (including 28.6% from 3) and 77.7% free throws.
2020 Hog offer Chris Moore to attend UA-vs-Bama at BWA on Saturday, plans to announce Top 5 this summer
Per source, 2020 Hog offer Chris Moore (6-6 combo forward, West Memphis, composite national 4-star prospect) will “absolutely” be in attendance for an unofficial visit Saturday at Bud Walton Arena when Arkansas hosts Alabama in the SEC and regular-season finale for both teams.
Moore recently had a 32-point, 20-rebound, 6-block game in West Memphis’s win over El Dorado in the Arkansas 5A state high school playoffs, but his team ultimately fell in a close game against Little Rock Hall last week in the 5A state semifinals. 
Moore holds offers from Arkansas, Iowa State, Memphis, Ole Miss, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and a host of other schools. He took official visits to Arkansas and Auburn in the fall, and he’s taken multiple unofficial visits to Arkansas over the past three years. He said he will look to narrow his list of schools in the coming months.
“I’ll have a list of my Top 5 (schools) out this summer,” Moore said on February 28.
Updates on 2019 Arkansas offers and prospects
— Reminder that 2019 Arkansas offer Javon Franklin (6-7 combo forward, Holmes Commuinity College in Mississippi by way of Little Rock Parkview) will take his long-awaited official visit to Arkansas this weekend (March 8-10). In addition to the Hogs, Franklin is considering Memphis, Auburn, Ole Miss, Oregon, Seton Hall, West Virginia, and others. Rated the No. 17 junior college prospect in the country by JucoRecruiting.com, Franklin redshirted in 2018-19 to recover from a broken leg suffered in Holmes’ season opener. He’ll have three years of playing eligibility at the NCAA Division 1 level beginning in ’19-20.
— Arkansas associate head coach Melvin Watkins was in attendance on February 28 when 2019 Arkansas offer Clarence “Frenchy” Nadolny (6-3, 180, combo guard, Scotland, PA, Campus Hoops, native of Paris, France) scored 27 points in a win. It was the second time in recent weeks that Watkins was on hand to watch Nadolny play. “Just making sure that I know that (the Hogs) need me next year and they need a guy like me that can have an impact right away the next year,” Nadolny answered when asked what Watkins’ message was to him last week. 
Nadolny — he holds reported offers from the Hogs, Georgetown, Iowa State, West Virginia, TCU, Boston College, and Dayton among others — said he’ll set up visits for “March” and that an official visit to Arkansas “could be a possibility.”
— 2019 Sean McNeil (6-4 junior college wing at Sinclair College in Ohio) reported an Arkansas offer last week after Hogs associate head coach Melvin Watkins watched him play. McNeil, who plays at the NJCAA Division II level, averages more than 30 points per game and had a 55-point game in 2018-19. Recently named the NJCAA Player of the Week, McNeil reports recent offers from the Hogs, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, and several other high-major schools.
— Arkansas assistant coach T.J. Cleveland watched 2019 Arkansas interest Jalon Pipkins (6-4 shooting guard / wing, Paris Junior College in Texas) play for the second time on February 27 when Pipkins finished with 22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in Paris’s 58-57 loss against Kilgore (TX) College. “After talking to Coach Cleveland I’m definitely interested (in Arkansas)” said Pipkins, a sophomore transfer from Cal State Northridge who averages 21.2 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds at Paris JC. “As far as visits we’re going to wait till after the season to make arrangements.”
— 2019 Tre Mitchell (6-9, 235, forward / center, Woodstock Academy in Connecticut by way of Pittsburgh, PA, composite national No. 80 / 4-star prospect) reported a scholarship offer from Arkansas on February 22. Mitchell is big, strong, and active with inside-out skill. He reportedly holds offers from the Hogs, Louisville, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Syracuse among others.
— 2019 Arkansas interest Jalyn McCreary (6-8 forward, Legacy Early College High School in South Carolina by way of the Atlanta area) has been recruited by Razorbacks assistant coach T.J. Cleveland for the last several months, and McCreary said Cleveland has been in touch again recently. “My Mom spoke to them today,” McCreay said on March 1. “They (Arkansas coaches) like me and are still interested.” McCreary holds offers from Big East schools Xavier and DePaul as well as Charlotte and South Florida, with the Hogs, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, and Georgia showing interest. McCreary, who is considering relcassifying to 2020, said he’d visit Arkansas if offered s scholarship.
— 2019 Arkansas offer Raymond Hawkins (6-9 forward / center, Findlay Prep in Las Vegas by way of Oakland, CA) took an unofficial visit to Arizone State last weekend, he’ll take an official visit to Buffalo this weekend, and he has indicated that he stills plans to take an official visit to Arkansas at a later date. Hawkins recently announced a “Final 5” of Arkansas, Mississippi State, Arizona State, DePaul, and Buffalo. 
— Arkansas coaches have been busy recruiting 2019 junior college guards and wings in recent weeks. In addition to Sean McNeil and Jalon Pipkins listed above, the Razorbacks have been in contact with and/or watched 2019 jucos Tyson Jolly (6-4 wing, Trinity Valley Community College in Texas), Sardaar Calhoun (6-6 shooting guard / wing, Missouri State-West Plains), Sean Miller-Moore (6-5 wing, Moberly Area Community College in Missouri), and Javion Hamlet (6-3 cvombo guard, Northwest Florida College). Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson has indicated in recent weeks that he intends to get “older” in recruiting as his Hogs prepare for the Class of 2019 spring signing period that begins in mid-April.

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