Getting Its Guard Up

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson writes about Arkansas' quest to improve at guard - including a big commit from 2014 prospect Anton Beard and this weekend's visit from transferring Rutgers point guard Jerome Seagears (6-1, 180).

With the rim now protected, Arkansas' basketball team is working on getting its guard up.

A big piece of that puzzle came Monday when North Little Rock junior guard Anton Beard (6-1, 180), a top 100 prospect nationally in the 2014 class who played his last three seasons at Little Rock Parkview, committed to the Razorbacks.

Beard, who had originally committed to Missouri, averaged 23 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 steals last season for Parkview while shooting 55.8 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from 3-point range and 65.7 percent from the free throw line.

That put head coach Mike Anderson in position to land the top player in Arkansas for the second straight year with McDonald's All-American Bobby Portis – measured at 6-11, 230 recently at the Nike Hoop Summit – having signed last fall.

Portis – a gifted all-around player - joins Nigerian-born center Moses Kingsley (6-10, 232) of Huntington (WV) Prep in giving the Razorbacks a Top 18 signing class (per and a pair of signees that blocked 240 shots last season.

Throw Houston transfer Alandise Harris (6-6,230) – who averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds in 2011-2012 - and Arkansas should be better up front next season even with sophomore Hunter Mickelson's decision to transfer.

Arkansas is also still involved with Fayetteville High guard Manuale Watkins (6-3, 200), the son of Razorback assistant Melvin Watkins.

Washington was set to sign with Missouri State on the first day of the April 17-May 15 spring signing period, but chose not to and may attend Arkansas either as a scholarship player or walk on.

"This is going to be a big off-season for our basketball team," Anderson said. "Our guard play has really got to pick up…Now the challenge is how can we get there?"

In addition to the returnees getting better, one way would certainly be adding a piece such as Rutgers transfer Jerome Seagears, who started 40 games at point guard the last two season for the Scarlet Knights.

Seagears (6-1, 180), who has averaged around 7 points and 3 assists while shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point range, will take an official visit to Arkansas this weekend.

He has already been to Auburn and has plans to visit West Virginia, Marquette and Baylor before making a decision.

"I want to go somewhere where I think it is in my best interest to be a big focal point to the team and help the team the best I can with my abilities to play the game of basketball," Seagears told

Seagears was a top 100 player nationally out of high school that averaged 32 points, 9 assists and 6.5 rebounds his senior season for Flora MacDonald (N.C.) Academy.

Flora MacDonald head coach Derrick Bond says that Seagears sees a great situation at Arkansas.

"He sees a great opportunity for himself at Arkansas and he is immensely interested in joining the Razorbacks," Bond said. "He knows they have the big guys coming in, he knows they have a lot of good parts already and sees himself as a guy that is a missing piece that could not only get them into the tournament, but maybe as far as the Sweet 16.

"We really think Arkansas is sleeping giant that is just ready to come alive with the right point guard and – yes, I am biased – but I think this kid can be as good as anyone in the country in the right situation," Bond added.

He is one of five players leaving the Rutgers program in wake of the firing of verbally and physically abusive head coach Mike Rice and Bond believes that those players will get immediate eligibility instead of having to sit out a year.

"Let's be honest, everybody and their dog comes up with that excuse of a sick grandmother and I am sure there really are some, but I have never heard of so many sick grandmothers in my life," Bond said. These guys have had to go through a terrible situation and I have to believe the NCAA is going to let them all be immediately eligible next season."

Jerome Seagears

Anton Beard

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