Roaring Back Into Recruiting

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson writes about how the Arkansas basketball coaching staff has dove headlong back into recruiting upon its return from Italy and how a new NCAA rule change affects how they will do things this fall. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers.

Just because Arkansas basketball head coach Mike Anderson and his staff are back from Italy doesn't mean there is any down time when it comes to recruiting.

The players will get a break from conditioning to acclimate themselves to the classroom, but the coaches must dig back in on landing future Razorbacks.

The Arkansas staff must dive back into recruiting 2013 prospects, who are starting to line up their official visits and deciding who they are going to allow into their homes when an open period arrives on Sept. 9.

While numerically Arkansas is working with two scholarships, the Razorbacks could very well ink three or four signees in either the November 14-21 early signing period and/on the late one April 17-May 15.

"Recruiting never stops so I don't put a number on it because a lot of things take place," Anderson said. "Nowadays you see the number of transfers, guys moving here and moving there and you never know, guys entering the draft. There are a lot of variables out there. I always tell our guys that we have got to continue to recruit. You never stop recruiting."

Arkansas assistant coach Matt Zimmerman notes that the NCAA's basketball recruiting rules have changed and that goes into effect this fall.

Instead of having clear differences in an open period when a coach can make contact with a recruit or just evaluate him, there are now seven "recruiting opportunities."

"You now can go visit a kid at his school, at his home or go to watch him play a total of seven times in any manner you want," Zimmerman said. "Of course, we are going to get in the homes early because if you don't there won't be a home to visit later."

The Razorbacks can bring as many as 12 official visitors on campus this school year, but you must also factor in that current juniors can now take official visits beginning April 1, 2013.

"As a staff, we haven't usually used all 12 of those where we have been, but we definitely have used all 130 days out we can get out," Zimmerman said. "That has stayed the same."

Anderson certainly got an invaluable chance to see his 2012-2013 roster with the 10 August practices allowed by the NCAA when taking a tour, which Arkansas ended 4-0.

"We are looking at our team and obviously we still have got to continue to get size - size that fits what we want to do," Anderson said. "Then, of course, the best player out there. We have got to get some impact guys to go along with the guys we have.

"But size is one of those things and obviously I like basketball players," Anderson added. "You got some guys out there that are impactful whether they are forwards or perimeter guys, but the emphasis is going to be on getting some bigger guys."

The Razorbacks already have a commitment from a "big" in Little Rock Hall's Bobby Portis (6-9, 225), who is now ranked as a top 15 player nationally by Fox Sports Next (formerly

Portis led his high school team to a state title and his Arkansas Wings AAU squad to the 17-and-under national title along with fellow Razorback target Moses Kingsley (6-9, 225), who is at Huntington (VA) Prep.

Portis confirmed Thursday that he has set his official visit to Arkansas for Sept. 14-16.

Kingsley - a top 50 player nationally and perhaps the best shot-blocker in the 2013 class - has not set up his visits yet, but will soon.

Arkansas is known to have some recruiting interest - and vice-versa - in as many as 17 prospects in the 2013 class.

That includes a pair of Boo Williams AAU teammates, relatively new public names and top 50 prospects nationally in 6-7, 190-pound small forward Troy Williams and 5-9 point guard Anthony Barber.

The Razorbacks will have several football weekends in Fayetteville before the early signing date to bring in basketball recruits if they choose to do so.

In addition to the Sept. 1 season-opening game with Jacksonville State, there are home football games in Fayetteville on Sept. 15 (Alabama), Sept. 22 (Rutgers), Oct. 13 (Kentucky), Oct. 27 (Ole Miss) and Nov. 3 (Tulsa).

"That is a lot of great opportunities for us to bring kids on campus," Zimmerman said. "We plan on bringing some great ones in that could help us get where we want to go in the future."

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