The Real Deal Turns 10
As it marks it's 10th year anniversary, there is certainly reason for the Real Deal in the Rock AAU Tournament to celebrate.
It did so Thursday night at Little Rock Hall with the first Mike Conley Jr. Arkansas-Tennessee All-Star Challenge – featuring Arkansas signees Trey Thompson and Nick Babb and former Razorback greats Ron Brewer and Todd Day as coaches - and will continue Friday night as the event gets underway.
"We are just very excited about this tournament and it just keeps getting better every year," Real Deal director Bill Ingram said. "The fact that it has lasted 10 years is a testament to the support we got first in Fayetteville and now here in Little Rock.
"Some tournaments last just two or three years and a great run goes five years," Ingram added. "The fact that we are about to have our 10th one is amazing and it's all about the people supporting it." The event – which originally started as the Real Deal on the Hill in Fayetteville in 2005 – has featured many stars along the way, including 75 NBA players including such standouts such as Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Mike Conley, Jr. and Thaddeus Young.
This year's stars are headlined by some big-time instate talent such as North Little Rock junior KeVaughn Allen and Bentonville sophomore Malik Monk – two of the nation's best talents in their respective classes.
Allen will apparently be playing with both the Arkansas Hoyas and Team Penny this weekend while Monk is on the Arkansas Wings Elite roster.
"We have talent the equal of any state now with guys like KeVaughn and Malik," Ingram said. "That's not always been the case with this tournament, but it certainly is this year."
The New Orleans Elite will feature North Little Rock sophomore Adrian Moore.
Team Penny should also have North Little Rock football-basketball star K.J. Hill, the Memphis brother duo of junior K.J. Lawson and sophomore Dedric Lawson, Memphis prep star Dontae Fitzpatrick.
The Wings have Jonesboro junior guard Marquis Pointer as well as New Orleans prep star Melvin Frazier, Arkansas football commit Jamario Bell of Junction City and Pulaski Academy sophomore sensation Lawson Korita.
The Arkansas Hawks have Jacksonville sophomore Rashawn Langston (6-3, 180) and will also feature sophomore guard Deshawn Williams, a guard who has an offer from UConn and who is from Maumelle, but played last season at Prime Prep in Dallas.
"Arkansas has checked in on Langston, who is just the kind of guard that (Razorback head coach) Mike Anderson) won with at both UAB and Missouri," Ingram said. "He has length, quickness, really gets after it defensively and can hit the 3."
There will be a couple of games Friday night on the three courts at P.A.R.K highlighting the Arkansas standouts.
The Arkansas Wings are scheduled to take on Rashard Lewis 9 at 7:30 p.m. while the Arkansas Hawks are expected to play Team Penny at 8:35 p.m.
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