Shortly after Patrick Beverley's official visit to Michigan many in the college basketball world thought the Chicago hoops star was the Wolverines to lose.
Turns out he was the University of Arkansas' to win.
Beverley (6-2, 175), a combo guard who was third in the voting for Mr. Basketball in Illinois, was overwhelmed by his official visit to Fayetteville and decided to sign with the Razorbacks and put a fantastic capper on the program's 2006 recruiting class.
"It wasn't really anything that Michigan did wrong or could have done better," Beverley said on the day of his signing. "It's just that Arkansas had everything I was looking for - great players, great facilities, great, great fans, a great atmosphere and it just seemed like a place I could really be happy and both I and the team could have a very bright future. The people are so nice down there, too. I love that Southern hospitality."
Beverley will be the Razorbacks' only spring signee and joins 6-6 small forward Sonny Weems of UA-Fort Smith, 6-3 combo guard Stefan Welsh of Hargrave Military Academy and 6-10, 235-pound forward Michael Washington of Genesis One Christian Academy as 2006 Razorback signees.
"We lost three seniors - all guards - and needed to replace them with shooting, sc oring and quickness and when you do that with Patrick, Stefan and Sonny and then throw in another big guy in Michael Washington than you very happy about what you have accomplished," Heath said. "This is going to be an outstanding class and one that not only brings some punch offensively, but is really a group that takes pride in their defense and all-around games also."
Beverley, who led the Windy City in scoring at 34 points per game while also grabbing 7 rebounds, dishing out 6 assists and picking up five steals while leading his team to a 32-3 mark and third place in Class AA in Illinois.
"He was just a phenomenal player for us in every aspect of the game, just a fine young man and a great teammate and leader," Marshall head coach Lamont Bryant said. "They did a wonderful job recruiting him and he was amazed at what he found in Arkansas."
It should be noted that Razorback junior star Ronnie Brewer - who at press time was still debating whether he wanted to jump the NBA or stay for his senior season - joined junior Gary Ervin in being hosts for Beverley during the weekend.
"I can't say enough about Ronnie and he came to me and said he wanted to do it and do his best to get Patrick," Heath said. "That's the kind of class guy Ronnie is,how much he cares about this state and how much he cares about this University and our basketball program."
Beverley, while saying he would keep to himself what Brewer had to say to him after his possible going or staying out of respect for the Razorback star, noted that Brewer definitely had an impact on him.
"He's a great player and one I hope to get a chance to play with and win a lot of games next season with," Beverley said. "He is a great player that is a really nice guy. He loves Arkansas and he got me to loving it, too."
Beverley got it down to Arkansas and Michigan after also considering St. John's, Georgetown, Missouri, Virginia, Wake Forest, Florida State, Arizona State and Purdue.
"He's a guy that just got the belief in himself that he was a great player and then lived up to it," Bryant said. "Once he got it going this season coaches were coming from everywhere. I'm glad it's over now and glad he signed with a great school in a great conference."
Beverley said Arkansas head coach Stan Heath made it clear he was expecting him to have an impact next season.
"He told me he expects me to come in and play right away and be the shooter that the need, score some points and keep the player I am guarding from scoring any," Beverley said. "I am very excited to be a Razorback."
Beverley made it clear that the big weekend in Arkansas - which featured Razorfest, the Red-White football scrimmage, a baseball series and the Real Deal on the Hill AAU Tournament - had a big impact on him.
"There is so much going on down there," Beverley said. "It was far different from the stereotypes that people try to tell you about. It is a very beautiful and a very progressive place and I am overjoyed it's where I am headed."
Beverley's Arkansas Bound
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