Talented Hoopsters

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Ilustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Siloam Springs hoops star Payton Henson, who has some D-1 offers and is playing alongside future Razorback Dederick Lee this summer for the Nolan Richardson Mustangs AAU squad.

For valid reasons, the Arkansas Wings and Arkansas Hawks programs get most of the attention when it comes to AAU programs in the state.

Those two organizations have had tons of success and have been loaded with future college standouts and even some current NBA ones.

But the Nolan Richardson Mustangs are a team – one that has a Northwest Arkansas flavor to it – that will grab some attention this spring and summer.

The Mustangs have already played in four tournaments are led by several D-I prospects, including an Arkansas 2013 commit in Clarksville point guard Dederick Lee (6-1, 180).

Lee is joined in the starting line-up three other juniors - 6-10 Fayetteville center and Missouri State commit Tyler McCullough, 6-8 Siloam Springs forward Peyton Henson and 6-5 Clarksville forward Devin Sims as well as a 5-4 Clarksville sophomore guard – either Freddy Lee or his twin brother Kendrick.

Henson, who averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds this season and whose Panthers squad moves to the 7A-West next season, loves the versatility of his team.

"It's been fun," Henson said. "I enjoy playing with Tyler, who is one of my best friends and I have become really close with all the Lees lately. This is my first year to play with them and we are extremely talented."

Henson is getting a first-hand look at Dederick Lee, who joins Little Rock Hall and Arkansas Wings standout Bobby Portis (6-10, 220) as the Razorbacks' two 2013 pledges.

"He's a great player, a great athlete and very explosive," Henson said. "He makes it so easy for Tyler and myself because if we are open he'll get the ball to us in just the right place to score. He also can really get on a role shooting the ball."

Henson has a pair of offers already and could soon have so more on his table – including one from NCAA upstart Belmont University in Nashville.

"Right now Missouri State and Arkansas State have offered me and I am expecting an offer from Belmont soon," Henson said. "I like all the coaches that have been talking to me. I have also been getting some stuff from Wichita State, TCU and Ole Miss."

While he is 6-8, Henson sees himself as more of a perimeter threat now while working on his game in the paint.

"I feel the best part would probably be my outside game, but I can still work on my inside game a lot," Henson said.

Henson is anxious to move up and play teams like Fayetteville and Bentonville – which features 6-8 Nick Smith - next season in high school competition.

"We have basically everybody coming back," Henson said. "We will lose two seniors that set the pace for us usually. The only thing that changes is that we will be going up into the 7A so it will be a little bit tougher, little more physical. I'll get to play all my friends that I play with right now on this team. I expect us to be really good and be able to compete."

Payton Henson

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