Taking Its Best Shot

in his weekly column, Hawgs Illustrated's Dudley E. Dawson catches up with East Poinsett County basketball star Rashad Madden to talk about his official visit to Arkansas this weekend and where he is in the recruiting process. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota.

It wasn't exactly the Midnight Train to Lepanto, but it served its purpose.

East Poinsett County basketball star Rashad Madden opened his door at 12:01 a.m. last Thursday to find University of Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey standing there.

While it was a planned trip and not a surprise drop-in, it was just another indication of how much the Razorbacks would like to add Madden – who is taking his official visit to Arkansas this weekend – to what is shaping up as a top 10 national recruiting class.

"That really meant a lot to me that he would make the drive over here and make sure I was the guy he was seeing at the first minute he could," Madden said. "That left a very big impression on me. The Arkansas staff has really made it clear how much they want me to be a part of their program. They have left no doubt about that and I appreciate that."

Arkansas has already landed commitments from St. Louis area point guard B.J. Young (6-3, 170) and the in-state duo of Jonesboro's Hunter Mickelson (6-11, 210) and Little Rock Parkview forward Aaron Ross (6-8, 225).

The Razorbacks are also in the running for Antwan Space (6-8, 205) – who has already taken his official and may take an unofficial back here next weekend. In addition to Madden, next week's official visitors include Memphis Melrose star and top 10 player nationally Adonis Thomas (6-6, 205) and Seagoville (Texas) power forward DeVonta Abron (6-8, 223).

Young is the 17th-best player in the country per Scout.com, who also has Madden (30), Mickelson (50), Space (76) and Abron and Ross (just out of the top 100) as highly touted prospects.

One recruiting service has Arkansas with the seventh-best class in the country already and Dave Telep, Scout.com's Director of National Scouting, expects the Razorbacks to be listed high when his site's rankings are released next week.

"Going into the spring and summer, Coach Pelphrey and his staff knew they needed to have a big summer to get the program back to where it wants to be," Telep said. "They are off to a great start, things are really lining up for them with what they already have coming and what might be on the way.

"This really has a chance to be John Pelphrey's signature class," Telep added. "It is a group of guys that could win a lot of games and get Arkansas back up where it once used to be."

Madden has already visited Baylor and will visit Ole Miss and UConn the following two weeks.

He'll decide from among Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Marquette if he takes a fifth visit.

The commitment of Young was certainly big nationally for the Razorbacks. It didn't go unnoticed by Madden, who thinks they could share the same backcourt like Kentucky's John Wall and Eric Bledsoe did last season.

"I got a chance to see him play and play against him this summer and really liked his game and I like his will to win," Madden said. "I got to know him at the NBA camp and he's a great guy.

"We definitely could play on the floor and the same time and cause a lot of problems for the defense with our skills," Madden said. "That is something that would really be exciting."

Rashad Madden

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