Hoops Being Selective in Recruiting

While the Arkansas State Red Wolves' basketball team returned to practice last week for the exhibition tour to Canada, the coaching staff took advantage and had three recruits in for unofficial visits.

One of those players, rising senior Conner Kern of Pickerington, Ohio, has committed to the Red Wolves.

The other two players were junior college standouts, 6-foot-8 Willie Atwood, who plays at Connors (Okla.) State and guard Toney Foster, of Navarro (Texas) College.

Atwood played three years of high school ball at Memphis Melrose and his senior year at West Memphis. He said ASU coaches want him back for an official visit and that he "around 17 to 20 offers now" and is receiving interest from several high majors.

Foster is from West Monroe, La., and has offers from Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas and Texas-Arlington. Losing five seniors, the Red Wolves are faced with the challenging of not having an easy road ahead of them.

NCAA rules only allow schools to bring in 14 players for official visits.

"We have to make sure that we feel real good about the kids we bring in here,'' said assistant coach Jeff Clapacs. "We only have 14 visits and you don't want miss on some early because then your back is against the wall. Another hindrance is the lack of Saturday home football games.

"We love to bring the kids in here when everything is so festive,'' said Clapacs. "This year we have two mid-week games and opening weekend is on Labor Day. Two other home games are after the November signing day.

The team wrapped up practice on Tuesday and began the trek north. The Red Wolves are traveling almost 2,000 miles to Calgary, Alberta for three exhibition games.

They begin play today against the University of Alberta. The Red Wolves will play the University of Calgary on Friday and will end the trek with a second contest against Alberta on Saturday.

Clapacs, who is in his sixth year on John Brady's staff, will write a blog The about the trip that will appear at astateredwolves.com.

"We are really excited about our upcoming trip to Calgary," said Clapacs. "This unique foreign tour will not only benefit our team from a playing standpoint on the court, but should also establish greater chemistry through the bonding experience with nearly two weeks together while practicing, traveling as a group, sightseeing and competing. This trip is a great opportunity for us to get a head start on our competition for the 2013-14 season.

"I'm looking forward to providing our fan base with in-depth and day-to-day insight on what should be an exceptional cultural experience for our student-athletes, staff, and entire men's basketball program."The team can also be followed on Twitter site @RedWolvesHoops.

(The ASU sports information department contributed to this article)