No, that is not the Easter Bunny playing for the Arkansas Wings, but yes he sure does have some hops.
Strong-Huttig junior standout Stetson Billings (6-5, 165) is drawing increased recruiting attention from schools after a standout performance earlier this month at the EYBL session in Virginia.
That includes Arkansas, whose new staff was also recruiting him when it was at Missouri.
"What everybody loves about Stetson is that he is just so bouncy," Arkansas Wings coach Ron Crawford said. "He is 6-5, 6-6, 165 pounds soaking wet and we are playing against the best players in the United States and he just battles and battles and battles them.
"He shoots the ball well, he rebounds, he is just so quick off the feet and he just has an energetic motor that scouts, evaluators and coaches like," Crawford added. "The level of scholarship he gets is really going to depend on just how much weight he gains."
Billings, who averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists last season for Strong-Huttig, did indeed shine in Virginia.
"I think I came out and really went hard after it from the start," Billings said. "We showed teams that we could play with them and I showed college coaches that I had a lot of versatility and will do whatever it takes to help my team win.
"I think two of the things that really stood out for me was my hustle and how well I played defense," Billings added. "I was also hitting my jump shot and taking it to the goal."
Billings has offers from Tulsa, UCA and Southeastern Louisiana.
But there are bigger schools showing interest with new Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson among those coaches now paying even more attention.
"Missouri was recruiting me before Coach Anderson left there and Arkansas was recruiting me before Coach Pelphrey left there," Billings said. "So that's good. I've also had Tulsa, Wichita State, Southeastern Louisiana and Cleveland State recruiting me."
Billings, whose team will be back in action in Dallas this Friday when the EBYL's second weekend of action gets underway, would love to be one of the 2012 prospects that Anderson offers.
"I think he is going to do pretty good with Arkansas and bring in some great recruits," Billings said. "He is going to get them back on a roll."
He is well aware of level of play of Arkansas' three 2011 in-state signees – Hunter Mickelson, Rashad Madden and Aaron Ross – seeing as how he has spent time battling them in Wings' workouts.
"They are going to bring a lot of energy to the team and a high skill level," Billings said. They are going to really bring it to the program, win and win big."
That's not to say that Billings thinks the 2012 class – featuring Sylvan Hills Archie Goodwin, West Memphis' Jalen Jackson, Billings, Pulaski Academy's Dusty Hannahs and others – should take a backseat to the 2011 guys.
"As a group we are going to be amazing," Billings said. "We all come out and play hard all the time. "I'd say this year's group would win (a game between the two) because of the defense and intensity that we bring."
Billings plays all over the place for his high school team, which made it to the Final Four of the Class 2A state tournament this past season.
"We made it to the semifinals," Billings said. "Last season we had an ineligible player and didn't get to play in the state tournament, but I think we made up for it this past year."
He is likely to play the shooting guard in college although possibly small forward if his frame fills out.
"I think I see myself as a two or a three on the college level," Billings said. "I feel comfortable in either one of those two spots."
"I have to get my strength up and I have to put on some weight," Billings said. "If I do that I will be able to attack the basket more and be more comfortable taking the hits while doing it.
"I would like to be 185 or 190 before the season starts so I have to put in a lot of hard work," Billings said. "I will do that."
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