Unlike last season when Kentucky signee Archie Goodwin and Texas Tech signee Dusty Hannahs were letting it fly from deep and the Arkansas Wings were winning with their offense, it's about defense and rebounding this spring and summer.
Little Rock Hall star and Arkansas commit Bobby Portis (6-9, 225) and New Albany (MS) big man Moses Kingsley (6-9, 225) have been dominant in the paint defensively for the AAU Wings.
"We are a different team this year because we don't have Archie or Dusty, a couple of guys who can go out and get you 25 each a night," Wings organizer Ron Crawford said. "But we have two guys in Bobby and Moses who just have been tremendously defensively and nobody gets anything inside."
The Wings just finished up the EYBL's last session in Oakland, Calif. over the weekend.
They went 4-2 to finish with a 13-7 overall mark in the four spring sessions and in doing so earn an automatic berth in July's prestigious Peach Jam.
"We have really played as a team and it has been fun to watch," Crawford said. "These kids had a tough spring last year, but really like each other and play hard for each other."
Arkansas has a commitment from Portis – who is averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds this spring - and is also recruiting Kingsley, who is second in the EYBL in blocks.
"With Moses, it's a matter of him looking at Louisville, Florida and Arkansas right now," Crawford said. "Arkansas has shown increased interest because the Razorbacks can envisioned how well Bobby and Moses could play together in college. They can see that right now in how they have been playing this spring.
"They are really good friends and I think would really love to play together in college," Crawford added.
Kingsley made the move from Nigeria with a focused set of goals.
"No one but Moses knows what he is thinking because he is a very serious young man and really very deliberate when it comes to his actions or words," Crawford said. "He came here and made it clear he was here to get an education, a college scholarship and one day hopefully play in the NBA."
Although there have been some rumors circulating that Kingsley might be moving to Memphis, Crawford said that is not accurate according to his info.
"I know there are those rumors out there, but I have heard nothing from Moses, (New Albany head) Coach Brad Gray or his guardian to indicate that," Crawford said. "His guardian lives there and isn't moving."
Portis is a 5-star prospect ranked as the 12th-best player in the 2013 class by ESPN and 25th by Scout.com while Kingsley is 55th in ESPN and 51st in Scout.com's rankings.
Portis is Scout.com's seventh-best power forward in the country and Kingsley its seventh-best center prospect.
"They will both get a chance to move up even further because have been invited to the Amar'e Stoudamire and LeBron James Camps in June," Crawford said.
Current Newport head coach Leighton McCrary is guiding the team the Wings this summer as Crawford is ailing with back issues.
"He's a great coach with over 30 years experience and was once the coach at Grand Valley State and is now there in Newport," Crawford said. "He's done a great job with these guys."
Some other key components for the Wings this summer have been North Little Rock point guard Dayshawn Watkins, Shiloh Christian wingman Darian Harris, Fayetteville guard Manuele Watkins and Jacksonville guard Justin McCleary.
Watkins was leading the EYBL in assists going into the Oakland session and has offers from Missouri State, Ole Miss and Louisiana Tech.
Harris has offers from Missouri State and Oral Roberts and is also drawing interest from Tulsa and Oklahoma.
"It is a really good group," Crawford said.
The Wings will take June off as the players go to individual and then regroup for practice in early July as they get ready for the Peach Jam and to play in the 17-and-under AAU National Tournament in Orlando in late July.
They advanced to the national tournament along with the Arkansas Mustangs, who they beat by 18 in the finals of the state AAU Tournament.
Clarksville point guard Dederick Lee, the other 2013 Razorback commit so far, leads the Mustangs.
Current Razorbacks Hunter Mickelson and Ky Madden helped lead the Wings to the national title two seasons ago.
"That's always the goal," Crawford said.
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