Hargrow nears decision about Arkansas

Updated story about how the Razorbacks could possibly get backcourt help for either next season or 2005-2006 as 6-5 Minnesota guard Maurice "Moe" Hargrow visits and eyes transfer to Arkansas.

The University of Arkansas could be getting some backcourt help for one of the next two seasons in the next two days.

Former Minnesota guard Maurice "Moe" Hargrow has been on the Fayetteville campus and is deciding if he will join the Razorback program.

Hargrow is a 6-5 junior guard who was averaging 11.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 31.1 minutes of playing time per game when he made the decision to leave the Gophers' program late last week.

"He is a recruitable student-athlete so the only thing I can tell you is that we got a release," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said on Saturday after his team's 70-62 upset of No. 22 Vanderbilt. "He is available and he has got interest in us."

On Monday, Heath said he had "no comment" on the situation right now.

But Hargrow confirmed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he was in Fayetteville and met with coaches, players and UA academic officials.

Hargrow, a 6-5 junior guard and the Gophers' second-leading scorer before leaving the team, said he hasn't made a decision on whether to enroll at Arkansas.

"I'm giving it strong consideration," the paper quoted him as saying from Fayetteville.

Derrick Gragg, the Arkansas associate athletic director and director of compliance, said on Saturday that Hargrow would have to be enrolled as a full-time student by Wednesday.

"The deadline is they have to be enrolled by the 12th day of classes for a particular semester for that to count that toward a year a residence," Gragg said. "It's not 12 days after enrollment, that's actually 12 class days. He would have to be enrolled by the end of Wednesday."

Gragg got Hargrow's release on Friday, thus clearing the way for Hargrow to make contact with Arkansas. He was previously recruited by Razorback assistant Ronny Thompson when he was at Georgetown.

Hargrow's two finalists after a standout career at St. Paul Highland Park, where averaged 24.7 points and 13.5 rebounds his senior season, were Minnesota and Georgetown.

¯We always had real good talks,˜ Hargrow said of him and Thompson. ¯I always thought he was real cool.˜

Hargrow was also an AAU player of Alan Anderson, one of Heath's former players at Michigan State when he was an assistant there. "The part I handle is the permission to contact," Gragg said. "We got that (Friday) afternoon. They have to send me written confirmation, and what they gave me was a blanket waiver. That gives other schools permission to contact him. We do have permission to contact. That gives us permission to recruit him."

Although sources at first thought that Hargrow - if enrolled by Wednesday - would have one-and-half years left to play for them, he would only have the opportunity to play the second semester of 2004-2005 or the entire year of 2005-2006.

Playing next season would put him on the court around Dec. 20 next season with about 20 games left in the season.

Hargrow was one of the Big 10's most improved players last year a when he upped his scoring average from 3.3 points as a freshman to 13.2 as a sophomore while starting 31 of 32 games.

He was tabbed as a preseason Big 10 All-Conference selection by College Basketball News and although he missed most of preseason workouts with a broken wrist, he managed to score in double figures in 9 of his first 12 games this season.

Hargrow had struggled in his last four games, averaging just 5.5 points per game, going scoreless against Ohio State and being benched the last 15 minutes and having 11 turnovers to 10 assists in his last quartet of contests.

He had previously talked to Minnesota head coach Dan Monson about transferring and they chatted about it for 45 minutes last Monday. He reached a decision on Wednesday night to leave the program.

¯It was just something I had to do at this point,˜ Hargrow said. ¯There's no pressure form anyone for me to do this.˜

Monson said the standout guard, who didn't start for the first time this season on Wednesday night at Purdue but scored nine points off the bench, will be missed.

"I met with Moe last night and he has decided it is in his best interest to transfer," Monson said in a press release. "While we wish him the best of luck, we are sorry to see him leave the team as Moe was a valued member of the Minnesota basketball program...Obviously Moe's a very talented player, and he's a good person and we're going to miss that," Monson added.

The Star Tribune reported in its Friday edition that the buzz around the Tri-Cities was that Hargrow was headed for Arkansas.

While some questions remain, there is no question that Hargrow would have to come into the Arkansas program at first as a non-scholarship player.

"The SEC rule states he wouldn't be able to be on scholarship his first year," Gragg said.

(The Morning News sports writers Izzy Gould and Mike Capshaw also contributed to this report.)

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