Dynamite DeAndre

Chicago junior prep basketball star DeAndre Liggins played Friday night in the Real Deal on the Hill AAU Tournament. He did so before an audience of University of Arkansas basketball players eager to let him know they want him to play his college basketball in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE - When Chicago prep basketball star DeAndre Liggins first heard the news, the 6-6 junior point guard was a bit shocked.

"I heard it on (ESPNs) SportsCenter and almost fell out," Liggins said late Friday night after his game in the Real Deal on the Hill AAU Tournament. "I thought surely they were kidding."

It was the fact that University of Arkansas head basketball coach Stan Heath was not going to be retained.

Since the Razorbacks and Memphis are at the top of his list, Liggins was obviously interested in the news and anxious to speak with UA interim head coach Glynn Cyprien and current UA and former Windy City star Patrick Beverley.

"It was surprising, but I'm not going to drop them because the coach left," Liggins said. "I still have a great relationship with Coach Cyp and Patrick Beverley and all of the guys right there."

Liggins - nicknamed The Ticket as in worth the price of admission - was referring to current Razorbacks Gary Ervin, Sonny Weems and Stefan Welsh who all showed up to watch his Indiana Elite squad in a game that didn't start until after 10 p.m.

"They all talked to me when I came in tonight and told me how much they wanted me, how everything was going to be okay here and they wanted me to be a Razorback," Liggins said. "They are all cool guys."

He knows Cyprien - who like the other coaches could not watch games on Friday night but can beginning Saturday morning - is still very interested in him as the staff expressed when Liggins was in on an official visit to see Arkansas play Kentucky in February.

"He can't talk to me right now because of the rules, but I saw him in my hotel today," Liggins said. "He was making sure I knew he was there."

He's also heard that Calipari is being mentioned for the vacant Arkansas coaching job.

"That would really be interesting," Liggins said. "I've been hearing that."

Liggins, who patterns his game after NBA player Sean Livingston, averaged 14 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 charges taken per game this past season for Washington.

He is regarded as the best 2008 prospect in the state of Illinois.

He had 3 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds in his team's 67-56 win over the Worldwide Renegades Friday night in the first game of pool play.

"It was alright," Liggins said. "I think I was trying to pass the ball too much tonight and had a few too many turnovers. I did alright. I am going to come out and play harder and better."

Liggins' Indiana Elite team won the 16-and-under title last season at the Real Deal on the Hill.

Indiana Elite will get back to trying to do so on Saturday morning at 10:20 a.m. at Bud Walton Arena against the Houston Hoops and then also play at 12:40 p.m. in Bud Walton against Team Chaos before moving into championship play Saturday afternoon in the three-day event.

"We are actually better than we were last year," Liggins said. "We have more size and the ability to win this tournament."

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