Atwood's Ascent

Former Memphis Melrose and West Memphis star Willie Atwood (6-8, 217) is having a breakout sophomore season for Connors State and has drawn the interest of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga, Wichita State and many others.

Arkansas has three high school hoop standouts already inked for its 2014 recruiting class, but certainly hasn't closed the door on adding to that haul.

In fact, the Razorbacks have been now made the trip to Warner, Okla., a couple of times this season to see current Connors State star Willie Atwood (6-8, 217).

Atwood, who played his first three years of high school basketball Memphis Melrose and then finished up at West Memphis, has had a breakout season for the Cowboys this season and is averaging 21.6 points and 8.2 rebounds this season.

"He has really had a great season for us and really come into his own," Connors State head coach Bill Muse said. "He has scored inside and out for us, grabbed rebounds, passed the ball well and played great defense. That's why so many schools have been here to see him."

Indeed Arkansas joins Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Iowa, Auburn, Wichita State and Murray State - the latter two who have offered - as teams that have been in to see the Memphis native play this season.

Atwood – shooting 60 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line this season for No. 25 Connors State (12-2) - has taken only one official visit has been to Marshall so he has four left to help him make his decision.

"He obviously decided that he wasn't going to sign early and just see how recruiting went for him during the season," Muse said. "It's looking like a very good decision for him."

He has had two monster games this season with a school-record 49-point effort in a loss to Independence Community College and 35 points in a win over Northern Oklahoma-Enid.

Atwood was 33-of-37 from the free throw line in that 49-point outing and got to the foul line 19 times in the other.

"He was just phenomenal when he scored 49 points," Muse said. "He is a very aggressive, hard-nosed and tough player who doesn't back down from anyone or any situation."

He was named the National Junior College Player of the Week on Dec. 5 after averaging 25.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 blocks in a trio games that didn't even include the school-record game.

"He could have won it several times this season already," Muse said.

Atwood averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds for West Memphis his senior season and then 10.6 rebounds and 7 rebounds per game as a freshman for Connors State.

During that time he went from being a 175-pound guard to a 217-pound combo forward.

"He has really filled out since he got here, gotten stronger and developed into a very complete player," Muse said. "He is just getting better every night and has a very bright future ahead of him. More people are calling about him every day."

Willie Atwood

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