Willis Keeps Pushing For More Options

Fayetteville's Payton Willis (6-4, 170) had a solid performance at the Nike Peach Jam, but his Arkansas Wings were ousted Saturday in the the squad's last pool play game.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - Fayetteville’s Payton Willis is one of the more unsung members of the 2015 Arkansas Wings’ 17 and under squad, but certainly has the attention of several Division 1 programs.

That includes the one right down the street.

Willis (6-4, 170) had 12 points Saturday morning, but CP3 downed the Wings 81-66 in pool play and eliminated the Arkansas squad from the Nike Peach Jam.

Malik Monk had 20 points, Tyrik Dixon 13 and Willis and Eric Curry both 12 each in the loss for the Wings (3-2).

“I just wanted to help my team out and do everything I could so we could advance and try to compete for a championship,” said Willis, who averaged 17 points for the Purple Bulldogs last season.

Willis has offers from Belmont, Lehigh, Western Kentucky, Tulsa and UAB with interest from Arkansas and several other programs.

“I am still very open,” Willis said. “I don’t really even have a list yet really or haven’t cut it down. I definitely like them (the Razorbacks) because they are my home town team.”

Willis averaged 8.9 points per game for the Wings this spring and averaged 8.0 points in his team’s five games at the Peach Jam.

He shot 40 percent from the field and 60 percent from the free throw line - both marks that are low for a shooter of his ability.

“I have played alright, but I don’t think that I have played to the best of my ability,” Willis said. “I definitely am trying to work on getting stronger and my athleticism.”

He was the star player for a Purple Bulldogs team that beat Bentonville twice in the regular season and ended up losing to eventual champion North Little Rock and Florida signee Kevaughn Allen in the semifinals.

Allen had 29 points and Willis 23 as the two engaged in quite the shootout during the contest.

“It was a great game and the atmosphere was crazy,” Willis said. “Going up against KeVaughn was fun. We didn’t come out with the win, but it was a great experience.”

Fayetteville should be a prime contender for the Class 7A state title this season.

“We definitely are going to have a lot of experience because we have seven or eight guys coming back,” Willis said. “We should be tough to deal with.”

Fayetteville's Payton Willis defends Bentonville star and Arkansas Wings AAU teammate Malik Monk during the 2014-2015 high school season.

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