The Present And Future
Minutes after what he hopes will be an upset of Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon in Dallas, Arkansas head basketball coach John Pelphrey will jump on the school plane and jet off to Little Rock.
He'll do so to catch as much as he can of the inaugural Arkansas Hoops Challenge, an event being held at Little Rock Hall featuring three Razorback signees, one of the nation's best juniors and a plethora of other talented prep hoopsters.
"It's a big event in the state of Arkansas because there are a lot of guys in the state playing – and you could make the argument that it is the best players in the state of Arkansas playing," Pelphrey said. "There are going to be some unique head-to-head match-ups."
The headliners are Razorback signees Aaron Ross (6-8, 225) of Little Rock Parkview, Hunter Mickelson (6-10, 210) of Westside and Rashad Madden (6-5, 180) of East Poinsett County.
They'll also be a chance to look at Sylvan Hills' Archie Goodwin, regarded as one of the nation's top juniors.
"For us, we will have three guys playing that have already signed with the University of Arkansas so it is always fun to get out and watch you own play," Pelphrey added. "Those guys are all having fantastic years. And then there are some other guys I want to have a chance to see play."
Action will get underway at 2:30 with Pulaski Academy taking on Strong Huttig.
The Bruins feature 6-2 sharpshooter Dusty Hannahs and 6-5 sophomore forward Hunter Henry, who reportedly already has an Arkansas football offer.
Strong Huttig is led by 6-6 junior forward Stetson Billings.
The 4 p.m. match-up will feature the state's two best big men in Mickelson and Van Buren's Hooper Vint (6-11, 210).
At 5:30, Goodwin will lead the Bears against Searcy and Ole Miss signee Jamal Jones (6-7, 175).
The 7 p.m. game features Little Rock Hall and Nebraska signee David Rivers against Dumas, who has a football-basketball star in 6-5, 240-pound Darion Griswold, who could possibly play both sports at Arkansas.
The night will finish with an 8:30 p.m. battle featuring Parkview and Ross taking on Madden and East Poinsett County.
"It is a going to be a very competitive environment, see a lot of the players that we've got and a lot of the type of player we may have a chance to recruit," Pelphrey said.
O o o
The other two Arkansas fall basketball signees are off to tremendous starts as well.
Seagoville (Texas) power forward DeVonta Abron – now 6-8, 230 pounds – is averaging 26.5 points, 11.6 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 81 percent from the line for a 6-2 squad.
Pelphrey plans to see him play Friday night.
Florrisant (MO) North McCluer point guard B.J. Young is leading the St. Louis area in both and assists by pouring in 32.2 points per contest and dishing off 8.8 assist a game as his team is off to a 5-0 start.
He is shooting a sizzling 77 percent (68 of 88) from the floor.
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