Thad's Big Decision

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson sizes up the latest on Memphis prep basketball star Thad Young's recruitment. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event on the Arkansas Toyota Dealers website.

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Most of the time it's quite special to be Memphis Mitchell prep basketball star Thaddeus Young, who was in Fayetteville this weekend on an official visit - his third trek to the University of Arkansas in the last seven months.

You're 6-8 and odds are great you are one day going to play in the NBA - most likely after that mandatory year out of high school the league now imposes - and thus you are destined to be a young millionaire sooner than later.

You've got that whole charisma thing going on so endorsements and dates are not going to be a problem - plus you are a young man with a 4.0-plus grade point average so you will most likely make good decisions in both of those categories.

During the spring and summer and now fall you have college head coaches such as Duke' Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina's Roy Williams, Kentucky's Tubby Smith, Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, Memphis' John Calipari and Arkansas' Stan Heath telling you how great you are.

But now that you have narrowed your list and your dad has told reporters in both Fayetteville and Memphis that it doesn't include the hometown Tigers, you know it's going to be stressful week.

Of course, you yourself were careful enough to mention Memphis, noting that your dad prefers that you get out of the Bluff City to play your college ball and would really like for you to play for a strong black head coach.

The Memphis internet message boards and radio call in shows certainly took Felton Young to task over that on Monday - likely not realizing they are doing more harm than good in that regard.

But then again - barring some unforeseen happening - other sources indicate that Memphis is really out of it and has been for a week - so maybe they aren't really doing any damage anyway.

"I think it is getting kind of a little crazy right now," Young said. "All the people calling the house is wild and I think it is kind of getting on my dad's nerves right now. It's kind of killing me, too."

So will it be Arkansas, Kentucky or Georgia Tech or does Calipari some how pull a rabbit out of a hat?

All those interested can find out at 10 a.m. next Monday morning when Young announces in a press conference at his school.

You've certainly got people in Arkansas excited over the fact that he could very well be a Razorback - another in the long line of Memphis players who have had success in this program.

"It was crazy, especially the fans chanting my name and wearing t-shirts that said ‘We want Thaddeus,'" Young said. "I've had a little of that on my other trips, but not like this. Also all the players are trying to recruit me and the recruits were trying to recruit me. That made me feel really special."

Certainly Arkansas' fans, coaches, players and even future Razorbacks like Mike Washington and Stefan Welsh - sporting a St. Louis Cardinals cap on Friday night - did indeed give it their best shot this weekend in hopes Arkansas is the name you come up with on that date.

"We are going to have a top five recruiting class nationally," Welsh said. "I think we are at a good point with Thaddeus. He sees the direction we are heading and that's upward. It's just a matter of time before the city of Fayetteville erupts. We have great players, great fan support, great coaches and it is only a matter of time before the Arkansas Razorbacks are back to the level when we won the national championship in 1994."

Far from being worried about who gets the points and all that, Welsh and Washington did their best this weekend to let you know that you are the guy.

"We are going to have great talent here, great coaching, we have great fans, a family atmosphere that not a lot of other schools can offer and a team working toward a common goal and doing it together," Welsh said. "We made sure he knew that we go over the top with him and how much better it would be to put a stamp back on a program that's won a national championship since we've been alive and thus be much more appreciated than he would at other programs."

Young sure sounds like he's pretty interested in that happening.

"Oh, yes, I can definitely see myself playing at Arkansas," Young said. "They have everything to offer both on the court and in the classroom and I really like the coaches and the players here. It's a special place."

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