UA Guard Prospects Sizzling in Las Vegas

Byron Eaton, Marcus Walker and Micheal Conley all have great days Friday in Las Vegas with big men RouSean Cronwell and Kellen Lee also attracting Arkansas' attention.

LAS VEGAS - At one point he wanted to be another two-sport star like Arkansas standout Matt Jones, but Dallas Lincoln prep star Byron Eaton has decided it would be better just to be someone's next great point guard.

Eaton, a 5-10, 200-pound lead guard, rushed for over 1,000 yards from his quarterback spot last season and then went out and averaged 22 points and 7 assists per game on the court.

"I really thought I would do both of them in college and I was getting a lot of offers from schools where I could do both," Eaton said. "But I've just decided over the summer just to concentrate solely on basketball so I won't play football either this year in high school or in college. I've just decided that's the way to go. I love football and it's going to be hard to tell my coaches, but I have to let it go."

Eaton said on Friday that he has narrowed his list of schools to Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, San Diego State and Baylor.

"Arkansas has a winning tradition that goes way back," Eaton said. "I know they have dropped off the past couple of years, but I think if I come in and play point guard with the other guys they have coming in we would be winning again really soon."

Eaton pumped in 23 points while leading his Dallas Mustangs Blue team to a 88-78 win over Portland Panthers Red at Basic High School in pool play at the Reebok Big Time basketball tournament.

The Mustangs had a big lead, let it disappear and then rallied down the stretch to win.

"We almost let it slip away," Eaton said. "You have to play every minute with intensity or it will come back to get you."

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Kansas City O'Hara point guard Marcus Walker had one of the Nike Main Event's best games so far on Thursday when he poured in 38 points in an opening round pool play game.

"When I was at the (Reebok) ABCD tournament, I tried to show I could be a passing point guard that runs the show, but here my team just needed me to go back to scoring game," Walker said. "My shot was falling and everything was working for me."

With UA head coach Stan Heath and assistant Rob Flaska looking on Friday, Walker popped in another 20 points although his team suffered a 94-79 loss at the hands of the DC Blue Devils.

Walker's current list includes Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Marquette.

"I really like Arkansas a lot and they remain high on my list," Walker said. "I am looking forward to taking all my visits one after the other as soon as school starts."

Walker had taken classes this summer at Mount Zion Christian Academy, but appears headed back to O'Hara for his senior year.

"I haven't made my mind up for sure yet, but I think I am going to be back in Kansas City," Walker said.

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In an article in the Indianapolis Star this week, Michael Conley, Jr. said it was his dream growing up to play for Arkansas.

The 6-1 point guard and son of former UA and Olympic track star Mike Conley said Friday afternoon that was accurate and he continues to think about how it would be to play for the Razorbacks.

"All I use to do was play basketball in Arkansas' arena and I certainly wouldn't mind playing there again," Conley said. "That's where I was born and there are a lot of great memories back there."

"He grew up in Arkansas and grew up on Razorback basketball, " Mike Sr. said. "That will always be on his mind. He used to be a ballboy there and now he thinks a lot about how great it would be to go back and play in Bud Walton Arena in front of that great crowd."

Indiana, Wake Forest, Illinois and Michigan State join Arkansas as Conley's top five.

"I am very fortunate that there are so many schools that like what I am doing," Conley said. "I feel like I am a pretty solid player who doesn't make mistakes, gets people involved and just does what it takes to win."

Although Conley will just be a junior this season, his recruiting process is moving right along.

"Now it is to the point that the majority of the schools in the country wouldn't mind having him," Mike Sr. said. "In his mind, he wants to narrow it down to the five schools going into the fall. Those schools know who they are. From there he will just start taking some visits and narrowing it down."

Conley had 14 points Friday afternoon to lead his Spiece Indy Heat AAU squad - which features the nation's best junior in 7-footer Greg Oden and Duke bound Josh McRoberts - in scoring in an easy 66-41 win over Stay in the Game.

The elder Conley, who works for USA Track, is working on staging a big AAU tournament to Fayetteville in late May next year, one that will come a week after the Kingwood Classic in Houston.

"I really want to do that and I think it is going to happen," Conley said. "I haven't had a lot of time to think about it with the Olympics coming up, but I would love to do it. It would be a great way for a lot of kids to see the great school that I went to and had success."

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Memphis Fairley prospect RouSean Cromwell, a 6-10, 220-pound center, is still slowed somewhat by a foot injury, but has looked good in his return to action this week after being out over a month.

Cromwell , playing limited time as not to reaggravate the injury and playing in front of Heath and Flaska, had 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks in just over 10 minutes of action in his team's 75-36 win over Alamo Heat on Friday night, a game that finished up after midnight on Friday night.

"I feel good about my game and how I am coming back," said Cromwell, a 4.0 student. "It's all about getting back into a groove and my teammates are helping with that."

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Kellen Lee probably has one distinction when he comes to the 7,000 or so players on hand this weekend.

The 6-11, 200-pound combo forward with guard skills, playing for Tru Playaz this weekend in the Reebok event, attended Denver's Manuel High School, but never actually played in a high school game.

"There was just a lot of things going on, including him quitting school to get a job and go support his mom when she was laid off from work," Tru Playaz head coach Antonio Tree Adams said. "I heard about him, stepped in and have tried to get some things happening for him and he has been very receptive and worked hard."

Lee, who had 13 points and 8 rebounds in his first game on Friday and 4 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in game two of the day, will go the prep school route this season, likely landing at Laurinberg Prep.

"Right now that is our first option," Adams said said. "He only needs one year and he has all the credits he needs."

Lee, who his coach feels like will put on 60 pounds or so on his long frame, is the son of former Denver NBA player Tommy Boyd.

"He has a great feel for the game," Adams said. "He has the genes of his dad and the game comes so natural for him. But he really is just learning how to play the game and why some things work and some don't."

"He is a great kid and his maturity is going to come along when a coach is able to nurture him," Adams said. "He is so darn talented, but coaches are scared to touch him right now because they don't know what is going on up there in his head. He has unlimited potential and is NBA bound if he gets it all together."

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Tidbits:

...Houston Elite point guard Javon Adams struggled in his first half of action on Friday, but then poured in 14 of his 18 after intermission and then exploded for 35 points in his second game of the day.

...Arkansas continues to be one of the college options for 6-7 small forward Brandon Rush, who started slow but then finished brilliantly with 26 points in his Rocktown team's 82-75 win over Team Detroit.

...The Razorback staff appears to have fallen hard for 6-9, 230-pound power forward Jeremy Mayfield of Irving McArthur. Playing for Team Fort Worth, Mayfield has no doubt noticed the UA coaches at all three of his games so far.

...Austin Peay has become the fifth team in the Paradise Jam, a tournament that will open the UA's season in November. Arkansas, St. Louis, Winthrop and Troy are the other schools with a sixth team still to be added.


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