Battle Of The Border

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Arkansas Hawks AAU coach Bill Ingram about this Saturday's Battle of the Border. It features teams from Arkansas and Memphis and has a plethora of Razorback recruiting targets.

Once upon a time matching up basketball teams from the legendary prep basketball city of Memphis and the best teams from Arkansas was not that good of an idea.

But that's not the case anymore and is why there is so much buzz about this Saturday's Battle of the Border – which will feature one Razorback signee and a host of other recruiting targets.

Five of the best teams from Memphis will matchup with a quintet of this state's top programs beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Little Rock Hall.

"There use to be a guy who did this that was from out of state and I think back then our kids were intimidated by the Memphis kids and teams and just how good they were back in the day," noted Arkansas Hawks AAU coach Bill Ingram, the organizer of the event. "But with summer basketball and the rise of talent in Arkansas, it's a rivalry now. It's on.

"We think we have the best teams in Arkansas – with the exception of Jonesboro and Fayetteville – and got five of the best six teams out of Memphis," Ingram added. "It's going to be a great day of basketball. We want them to come over here, let us so them some great hospitality and then kick their butts and send them home."

The action will start at 1:30 p.m. with Little Rock McClellan vs. Memphis Lausanne - who features eighth grade phenom Isaiah Stokes (brother of Tennessee star Jarnell Stokes) - with Jacksonville and Olive Branch, Miss., battling at 3 p.m.

Little Rock Parkview will test Memphis Hamilton at 4:30 p.m. and North Little Rock will tangle with Memphis East at 6 p.m.

The headline game comes at 8:30 p.m. – after a break when a documentary film crew will set up - when Razorback signee Bobby Portis (6-10, 220) and his Hall squad battle Memphis White Station.

"(Arkansas head) Coach (Mike) Anderson knows how important our state and Memphis are to his success and he's all over a lot of these guys from both states," Ingram said.

White Station features Baylor commit Leron Black – as well as trio of other other outstanding players that Arkansas is after in 6-4 junior shooting guard Davell Roby, 5-11 point junior guard Chris Chiozza and 5-10 sophomore point guard Nych Smith.

Scout.com ranks Portis as the 16th best player nationally in the 2013 class and Black 18th in the country in its 2014 rankings.

"That's going to be a great match-up between Bobby and LeRon Black, who are both great players," Ingram said. "Arkansas fans will also get to see Roby and Chris C., who the Razorbacks are really recruiting."

Little Rock McClellan features two 6-8 ninth graders in Maxwell Omili and Nnamdi Collins.

"Both of those McClellan kids are from Africa and have been over here for two years now," Ingram said. "They have a chance to be really great players down the line, top national players. This will be the first chance for a lot of people to see them."

Parkview has Mississippi State signee I.J. Ready and Missouri junior commit Anton Beard while North Little Rock has UAB point guard commit Dayshawn Watkins, unsigned 6-4 wing Thomas Alexander and super sophomore KeVaughn Allen.

Ingram believes the 6-3 Allen is the next big thing in Arkansas.

"I coached both (former Razorbacks and current NBA players) Joe Johnson and Ronnie Brewer and I can tell you that KeVaughn Allen has the same pro potential that those guys did," Ingram said. "Now Joe is 6-8 and Ronnie 6-3 so he doesn't have their height, but he is further along than either of those guys were at the same stage."

Memphis East's star in University of Memphis signee Nick King, the nation's 32nd –best player according to Scout.com.

Hamilton has a pair of brothers who already have Arkansas offers in sophomore K.J. Lawson (6-7) and freshman Dedric Lawson (6-8), who were both on hand for the Razorbacks' Elite camp in August. "All those kids are very, very good," Ingram said. "It's going to be a fun day."





Bobby Portis





LeRon Black





KeVaughn Allen





Chris Chiozza





Davelle Roby





K.J. Lawson


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