In an effort to land some bigs in the 2016 class, Arkansas could be hooking up with the Team Speights AAU organization for yet another basketball prospect.
The Razorbacks landed former Naples, Fla., First Christian Academy and Team Speights standout Lorenzo “Doobie” Jenkins (6-7, 215) as a late 2015 signee.
Arkansas has recently offered his Team Speights teammate Andrew Gordon (6-10, 210), who is at South Kent (CT) Prep this season after playing his high school football and basketball career at Dunedin, Fla.
“I am excited about the Arkansas offer,” Gordon said. “I don’t know a lot about them so far, but I know that my homey (Jenkins) is there and he tells me it’s a great place with great coaches and that they have great facilities.
“I’m looking forward to getting down there and checking it all out, maybe at the end of October.”
Team Speights AAU head coach Aaron Holmes thinks Arkansas could be a great fit for Gordon.
“We have developed a great relationship Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and the other Arkansas coaches, especially T.J. Cleveland, who is just a great guy and a great coach,” Holmes said.
“We have one player already up there in Doobie and Andrew could be a perfect fit for them in his style of play. We are looking at having a great relationship with the Arkansas coaches from here on out.
“I know the Arkansas coaches have the best interests of our kids both on and off the court.”
Gordon has offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss, Memphis, Xavier, Rhode Island, La Salle, Richmond and Florida Gulf Coast.
He’s also getting interest from Auburn, Alabama, Cincinnati, Wake Forest and Providence.
That’s heady stuff for a young man who was a football star at defensive end and all set to go to Garden City, Kan., Community College on a scholarship.
He was the defensive MVP of the Pinellas County Senior All-Star game.
But that was before he was talked into coming out for basketball and ended up averaging 9.8 points and 2.5 rebounds.
“I watched Andrew play in a high school game this season, and it took me 10 minutes to realize he could be something special," Holmes said. "With his height and athleticism, college coaches were going to be enamored with him. "
He helped lead Dunedin to its first state tournament berth since 2003 and first state tournament win since 1963.
“I just decided to go out and play and stay active and it just turned out to be a nice fit for me,” Gordon said. “All these colleges coaches started recruiting me and I started thinking this might be my way to go.”
That was solidified when he spent the spring and summer with Team Speights and Holmes.
“This is a kid that has only been playing basketball for nine months so he is just coming around and his best basketball is ahead of him,” Holmes said.
“I found him playing at the rec center and now he is a guy that a lot of coaches see a bright future for as he just keeps getting better and better every day.”
“He is just a tremendous athlete and I am sure he go out and play defensive end in football for Arkansas.
“Andrew has got a lot of dog in him and that’s what you need when you go up against Kentucky and those other SEC teams.
“He won’t back down from anybody and that’s a good thing.”
Holmes noted that once Gordon got into basketball, he knew it was his path.
“The hardest thing was to get him on the basketball court, but once we did, he knew that basketball was the best path for him.”
Gordon has grown eight inches over the last three years.
“I was 6-2 when I was coming out of the ninth grade and I was 6-10 by the time I was a senior,” Gordon said. “Football was my first love and I thought all along that would be the sport I would play in college.
“But things worked out this way and I am glad to get this opportunity at South Kent.”
Holmes had an existing relationship with South Kent head coach Kelvin Jefferson, who has coached on the college level for 13 of his 20 years as a coach.
“Coach Jefferson has a great program there at South Kent and has helped develop a lot of top college players and even some NBA guys,” Holmes said. “I know he is going to get great coaching and will be developed to the best he can be up there this season.
“He’ll also get the chance to play some great competition and that will help challenge him and drive him to be ever better.
“One thing Andrew is about is doing anything that it takes to win a game.”
Gordon knows that he has a lot of natural skill and a lot to work on while at prep school this season.
“I need to work on my shooting and post moves this year and just become a more well-rounded player,” Gordon said.
“My strengths are that I am very aggressive, dunk everything that I can get to and work real hard all the time to get better.
“I know I have not been playing very long at all and know I have a lot to still learn and I am willing to listen and learn."
Gordon expects to visit Arkansas late in October – possibly the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 weekend.
That would be right before the early signing period of Nov. 11-18, which is one of two signing periods along with the spring one of April 13-May 18.
“This is all brand new to Andrew and so he is kind of feeling out the process as he goes, but if he gets up to Arkansas and we feel like that is the best fit for him, then he would go ahead and sign,” Holmes said.