Late Oppportunity

Fayetteville High all-state guard Manuale Watkins (6-3, 200) was all set to sign with Missouri State on Wednesday, but it now appears that he has an offer from Arkansas after the decision of sophomore center Hunter Mickelson to transfer out of the program.

It turns out Arkansas could possibly be signing a point guard that it is very familiar with and who played his high school basketball just down the street from Bud Walton Arena.

Fayetteville High senior guard Manuale Watkins (6-3, 200), son of Arkansas assistant Melvin Watkins, was set to sign with Missouri State at noon on Wednesday as the month-long spring signing period opened.

But that ceremony was postponed when he got a late offer from Arkansas, who had a scholarship come available Tuesday when sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson announced his intention to transfer.

"I was in a meeting in Conway about the high school all-star game and heard that he did not sign," Fayetteville head coach Kyle Adams said. "It was surprising."

Both Watkins have been unavailable for comment to this point.

Watkins averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game last season for a Fayetteville team that went 26-4 and lost in the Class 7A state championship game to North Little Rock.

He had 16 points, 5 assists and 2 steals in the title game as the Purple Bulldogs fell one victory short of a championship for the second straight year.

"He was exactly what this team needed the past two years," Adams said. "He has a great on-the-court game and he is very mentally and physically tough. He is a leader and kids just gravitate to him on and off the court.

"The big thing is that he will do whatever it takes on a basketball court to get the win," Adams added. "He has a great attitude, a great knowledge of the game and makes everybody around him better."

That's not surprising seeing as how Watkins - who shot over 50 percent from the field and the 3-point line in the EYBL last spring and summer as an Arkansas Wings' AAU teammate of Razorback signee Bobby Portis - is a coach's son.

"He had a great work ethic that was instilled in him by his dad and he was always the first one here wanting to get better every day," Adams said. "He'll succeed no matter what he ends up doing."

Watkins chose Missouri State – where his teammate Tyler McCullough (6-10, 240) signed this fall over ORU and some other offers.

He had gotten late interest from Boston College and George Washington.

"Those are just the ones I know about and really to be honest most of the recruiting has gone through his dad as one would expect," Adams said. "All I know is that someone is going to be a great player and an even better person."

Manuale Watkins

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