Arkansas' basketball future got a major boost Tuesday when Jimmy Buckets declared his intention to go to college in Fayetteville instead of stay in Columbia.
Columbia, Mo., Hickman senior guard Jimmy Whitt (6-4, 170) – regarded as the best player in the Show-Me State and and one of the top 50 nationally – committed to the Razorbacks late Tuesday afternoon at his school after taking an unofficial visit to the school on Friday and Saturday.
“My heart wasn't at Missouri, it was at Arkansas,” Whitt – who has known the Arkansas staff for 10 years - said during his announcement.
"I told myself, ‘This is where I want to go,’” Whitt added. “I was 200-percent sure this is where I want to be for four years after high school.”
Whitt also tweeted out the above photo illustration of himself in a Razorback uniform right after the announcement.
"Blessed to say that I have verbally committed to The University of Arkansas for basketball #woopigsooie right?"
He chose Arkansas from a Final Five list that also included hometown Missouri, SMU, Marquette and Illinois and plans to sign his letter-of-intent with Mike Anderson's Razorbacks when the early signing period opens on Nov. 12th.
"It was really talking to coach (Mike) Anderson," Whitt said. "We had a really good talk for like an hour in his office. He said I'll really be able to make an impact right away, and that's really important to me."
Whitt had official visits set up for each school, but decided that it would be best since felt Arkansas was definitely his choice to go ahead and let the other schools pursue other players.
“There was just no reason to lead anyone on after I knew what I wanted to do,” Whitt said.
Whitt averaged 22.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 4.4 steals for a Kewpies team that finished 27-3 last season and lost in the Missouri Class 5 state title game.
He followed that up with an AAU season in which he averaged 17.1 points, shooting 55 percent from the field, grabbing 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists for KC Run GMC.
Whitt feels like his style of play fits Arkansas.
“I think I like the fast-tempo style of play,” Whitt told Steve Walinek of the Columbia Daily Tribune recently. “They really play like my high school with the whole pressing thing. They like to get up and down. I feel like that’s something I’m comfortable with, something I’m used to with high school — being able to get up and down the court, being able to create off the dribble, just create different plays for teammates. It’s a really fast-paced game, and I think that’s something I really like about it because that’s the type of game I like to play. I don’t really like to sit back in the half-court sets. I really like to get up and down the court.”
His dad James and mother Annelle are both happy with his choice.
“I am really glad to get it over and for him to be so happy with his decision,” Mr. Whitt said. “We have known the Anderson and Watkins family for so long and they have known Jimmy since he was in the fifth grade and they were coaching here in Missouri.
“They have watched him grow and develop and always kept an interest in both him as a young man and as a basketball player as he came along. We made it real clear to him that our relationship with the coaches should not have any bearing on his decision, but we honestly are happy that he came to this decision because we know and love those guys.
“I also think he will be a perfect fit for their system and his talents will be utilized to the fullest. I think Arkansas is on its way to doing great things and I am happy that Jimmy will be a part of it.”
Whitt Sees Fit To Commit To Arkansas
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