As long as the weather permits, Texas junior basketball star Willie Warren will get a chance to see his favorite college basketball player in person today.
Luckily for the University of Arkansas, that player is current Razorback freshman star Patrick Beverley, who will lead his Razorbacks (14-7, 3-4) against visiting Kentucky (16-5, 5-2) in a 12:05 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.
"I would have to say my favorite player in all of college basketball to watch play right now is Patrick Beverley," Warren said. "He just plays with such passion, gets the crowd going and just plays so hard from one end of the court to the other. I just love watching him play and would love playing with him in college if it works out."
Warren (6-4, 190) is regarded as one of the top 50 juniors in the country by Scout.com and is arguably the best 2008 prospect in Texas and is friends with Oklahoma sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke.
Clarke is averaging over 34 points per game this season and is Warren's backcourt partner in the summer with the Team Texas AAU squad – something they have talked about doing together in college as well.
"We have talked about it a lot and I was just asking him the other day if we were still going to do this," Warren said. "He said that's what he would really like to do as well."
Warren, whose team was 26-3 heading into last night, is averaging 24.7 points, 5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 4.3 steals this season.
"I would probably say I take more pride in my assists and steals and my defense this season than anything else," Warren said. "I knew I was going to be double-teamed a lot this season so I needed to be able to get my teammates the ball in areas that could score.
"I feel like I have done a good job on that this season and have also shown that I can guard a smaller guard if I need to do so," Warren added. "In summer ball, my defense wasn't that great and I wanted to really work hard to become a more complete player and not just a guy who would be known only as a shooter and scorer."
Warren has had the chance to see several Arkansas games on television this season.
"I love watching them play and their style," Warren said. "They play so hard. They have lost a couple of games that were a bit surprising, but they have also taken it hard to the big boys and shown they can play with anyone in the country. They gave Florida all they wanted, have wiped out Alabama twice and just tore LSU up."
Warren was actually suppose to be on hand for the Arkansas-LSU but bad weather kept him from making the trip through Oklahoma and he went with a friend to see Texas A&M play that day.
Having already been to Fayetteville once this season for the Arkansas-USC football game back in September, Warren is happy about getting to come back for the rare in-season trip allowed by his high school coach.
"My coach really doesn't like us to get too far away during the season because he says if he decides we need to practice on something after our games, he wants us to be nearby," Warren said. "But he knows how interested I am in Arkansas."
Warren will start to really narrow his recruiting focus this summer.
"I'll take some trips this summer and maybe some before next season starts," Warren said. "But I want to have it out of the way before we start our season next year and as sure as I am sure about things, I won't wait around."
Loving those Razorbacks
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