One of Indiana's and thus one of the nation's top point guards gets a chance to take down one of the nation's best teams again tonight.
Terre Haute (Ind.) South senior point guard Armon Bassett (6-2, 170), a 2005 prospect that the University of Arkansas saw in action last Friday, will lead his 17-4 team tonight at Indianapolis Arlington (21-0), the No. 3 team in the country according to USA Today.
"I get fired up to play every night, but they have a Indiana point guard signee in Deonta Vaughn so I'll have that little bit extra tonight," Bassett said. "We beat them by 16 or 17 last year and it would be nice to take them down again."
Bassett , who is averaging 22 points and close to 7 assists per game, had hoped to make it down to Arkansas this weekend for an official visit, but will have to come later because the state playoffs get underway quickly next week for the Braves.
"I am very, very interested in Arkansas and I am definitely going to take a visit down there," Bassett said. "I know they play in the SEC and that's big-time basketball right there. I also know that supporting the school is the biggest thing in the state of Arkansas and I know there would be a lot of fans behind me if I came there."
Arkansas joins Ohio State, Xavier, Illinois, Nebraska, Purdue, Texas Tech and Auburn among the schools that Bassett - considered one of Indiana's Top 10 players - is currently considering.
"I'd say right now that Arkansas, Xavier and Ohio State are my top three," said Bassett, an impressive leaper with an over 35-inch vertical who has thrown down a multitude of dunks this season. "Since I got my grades up, I've been getting a lot more attention."
Terre Haute South head coach Mike Saylor was a player at Indiana State when current Arkansas assistant Rob Flaska was an assistant with the Sycamores.
"Coach Flaska and I have stayed close throughout the years and I know he would take good care of Armon," Saylor said. "I have told Armon how big a deal Arkansas basketball is and has been and he seems very interested in getting down there and checking it out."
There are several reasons why Bassett, shooting nearly 45 percent from 3-point range, has caught the attention of college coaches.
"He is just a great offensive talent and a true point guard," Saylor said. "He can score in so many ways, but also loves to penetrate and distribute the ball. He's leading us in scoring and assists and is second in rebounding. And he does everything inside the context of team play. He is also a great leader."
After a game in which Bassett scored 29 points and dished out five assists to lead his team to ta 47-38 win over Terre Haute North in the Wabash Valley Classic right after Christmas, Saylor couldn't say enough about him.
Bassett had 8 of his team's 14 field goals in that game, got an assist on five of the other six and hit 13-of-13 free throws in the course of the game.
"Some coaches ask, 'Do you want to have tricky plays or tricky players?' " Saylor said. "I think most coaches prefer tricky players -- and Armon [Bassett], in my mind, is the trickiest..."Armon put on an incredible performance."
On another occassion with his grandmother - who later passed - in the hospital, he poured in 30 points, grabbed 8 steals, had 7 steals and dished out four assists in a 66-54 win over Warren Central.
He certainly plays in an outstanding league, one that features such players as Duke signee Josh McRoberts, Vaughn, Indianapolis North juniors Greg Oden and Michael Conley and sophomore Eric Gordon.
"We have arguably the best senior in the country, the best junior in the country, the best sophomore in the country and one of the top five freshman in the country in our league," Saylor said. "It's high quality basketball night in and night out."
Bassett, who averaged 18 points as a junior after being academically ineligible the first semester, was named to the Indiana underclassman Core 6 all-state team - meaning he was considered one of that state's six best juniors - during the 2003-2004 season.
"I think the best thing I do is penetrate and get in the lane and make things happen," Bassett said. "But I'll also just bury it from the outside if I need to."
Bassett has not yet taken any official visits, but taken unofficials to Indiana, Xavier, Ohio State and Purdue.
Teams didn't really come after Bassett early on in the recruiting process because of the concerns about his grades.
"I am really just starting the process now that my grades are up and more teams are showing interest," Bassett said. "I've still got to raise my grade point average or my test score a little higher, but I feel good about both of those now. I didn't really take care of my grades when I was younger, but the message got through to me before it was too late and I have been on the honor roll the past few semesters."
Bassett thought he could have played better in front of Arkansas - despite having 24 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in a 71-45 win over Evansville North.
"I don't think anybody has really seen me at my absolute best yet," Bassett said. "But I have very high standards for myself."
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