Impressing Beverley

Arkansas' basketball program gets a chance to impress Chicago hoops star Patrick Beverley (6-2, 175) on an event-filled weekend in Fayetteville that includes the Razorbacks' Red-White football game, Razorfest, the nation's top AAU basketball tournament in the Real Deal on the Hill and a baseball series that will have thousands of UA fans on campus.

Chicago (Ill.) Marshall head coach Lamont Bryant knew what he had all along - it was just a matter of getting the word out to everybody else.

Averaging over 40 points per game in his first seven contests of the season, Commandos senior combo guard Patrick Beverley (6-2, 175) pretty much took care of that himself very quickly.

"I could tell people all I wanted to about how great he was, but he just went out and showed them himself," Bryant said. "By Thanksgiving, when he was averaging over 40 points a game, coaches were all over him."

It appears that only two coaches are left in the mix - Arkansas' Stan Heath and Michigan's Tommy Amaker.

"Arkansas and Michigan are the two schools it has come down to for him it looks like," Bryant said, "and wherever he decides to go is going to be a great school for him and he is going to be great for them. He is a great basketball player and a great kid."

Beverley, who ended the season averaging 34 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per outing, is visiting Arkansas this weekend with his mother Lisa - who once lived in both Little Rock and McGehee.

He'll be in Fayetteville on a weekend where they could on an eventful weekend that includes the UA football team's Red-White game, tons of the nation's top high school hoops prospect and coaches on hand for the Real Deal on the Hill and a baseball series with Kentucky. "I know those fans love the Razorbacks and it sounds like he is going to have a ball down there and get to see just what college life and that atmosphere is all about," Bryant said.

It follows up visits to Toledo - where he committed before the summer before re-evaluating his options - and Michigan.

"When he went to Toledo, he thought it was the greatest thing in the world until he got to Michigan, which he decided was the greatest thing in the world," Bryant said. "I'm betting that's the same thing he is going to think about Arkansas once they get him down there and show him that Southern hospitality and all their great facilities and fans. He's just a country boy living in the city anyway."

He's just exactly what Arkansas is looking for to complete its recruiting - an all-around great player offensively and defensive who also happens to be a pure shooter as evidenced by his shooting an amazing 55 percent from 3-point range.

"They have made it clear that he is very important to them, that he could make an immediate impact for him and that he is the guy they want," Bryant said. "Now he just has to get down there and check it all out and if they impress him like I think they are going to, Arkansas is going to be in great shape with him."

Bryant is a big fan of Beverley, who had plenty of other scholarship offers and a player his coach says is already qualified to be eligible to play next season on the collegiate level.

"I've had about 20 other kids go on and play D-1 basketball," Bryant said. "I've been coaching a long time. But I've told him that he was as good as anybody I have had and that he was as good as anybody in the country right now. He started to believe that and it showed in his play."

Beverley led his team to a 34-3 season and a third-place finish in the Class AA state tournament.

"It was a a wonderful year for us and he was obviously a big, big part of it," Bryant said. "He was a shooter, a scorer, a leader and just an all-around great player for us."

Beverley was reward by being selected to play in the Roundball Classic, an event in his hometown in which he scored 13 points and dished out 6 assists for his winning West squad while playing for former Arkansas track star and gold medalist Mike Conley.

"I thought he had a great game and thought he had a great chance to be the MVP at one point," Bryant said. "He loved it, just loved it."

Now he'll see if there is love for Arkansas as well.

"I know they are going to show him a great time," Bryant said. "Then he'll just have to make a decision. He can't go wrong with either one."

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