Pelphrey, Staff Look To 2008 Class

FAYETTEVILLE -- Now that he's had a good look at the present, new Arkansas men's basketball coach John Pelphrey and his staff are back to working on the future.

That includes taking home visits during the current Sept. 9-Oct. 5 contact period to at least nine 2008 and then hosting those prospects for official visits on campus.

"With our recruiting, we are looking for the absolute best players that can fit our system, hard-working, tough-minded, high-character guys," Pelphrey said. "With six seniors leaving our program after this year we have the unique opportunity for these guys to come in and play right away."

Pelphrey has already been to see 5-foot-11 point guard Courtney Fortson of The Patterson (N.C.) School and forwards Keith Ramsey (6-8, 205) of Okaloosa-Walton (Fla.) Community College and Monroe (La.) Carroll star Terrence Henry (6-9, 195), who got his visit from the Razorback coach on Tuesday.

Arkansas coaches are also expected to visit 6-9, 205-pound Serbian-born Drazen Zlovaric of Weston (Fla.) Sagemont Upper School on Wednesday and 6-1 guard Rontei Clark of Claremore (Okla.) Verdigris on Friday.

They will also visit 6-9 center Stan Simpson of Chicago (Ill.) Simeon, Memphis Craigmont small forward Terrico White (6-5, 190) and likely New Orleans (La.) Holy Cross forward Brandon Moore (6-8, 205) during this contact period.

Obviously they will also check up on 6-2 Genesis One guard Terrance Joyner, who committed to the Razorbacks during the summer.

Simpson, Clarke and Ramsey are all coming in for official visits on Sept. 21-23 with Fortson, Henry and White slated for theirs on Sept. 28-30.

Simpson is one of the top five players in Illinois and has a lot of familiarity with Arkansas.

"He has family that lives there in Little Rock and they have told him good things about the school in Fayetteville," Simeon coach Robert Smith. "He's very high on Arkansas."

Simpson averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks last season for Chicago Leo Catholic, but has made the move to Public League powerhouse Simeon for his senior season.

"He is a very skilled player, sometimes I don't think he even realizes just how skilled he is," Smith said. "He also defends very well, blocks a lot of shots and keep his man from scoring.

"If there was something I would like to see improvement on it would be his rebounding," Smith said. "He needs to get better on the boards and I am especially pushing him on the offensive glass."

Simpson has narrowed a lengthy list of suitors down to Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Bradley.

He has been on unofficial visits to nearby Bradley and Illinois and will likely make his decision known right after his visit to Arkansas on Sept. 21-23.

He also has offers from Indiana, Minnesota, Virginia and many others.

"There were so many people interested in him, especially after how he ended the summer playing so well," Wright said. "But he and his mom have identified these three schools - Arkansas, Bradley and Illinois - as the ones he will have as his finalists."

UA assistant coach Tom Ostrom has been the lead recruiter on Simpson.

"Coach Ostrom and I have had some great conversations," Smith said. "They have really laid out their plans for the program, what they are looking for and how they think he could come in and help them right away."

Simpson was able to dominant play in the Catholic League, but will be adjusting to playing in the well-known Windy City Public League.

"The thing that is different in the two leagues is that in the Public League, you have to bring it every night or you will get embarrassed," Smith said. "Especially because we will be going for our third straight championship, everybody will be shooting for us and we will get their best effort every night.

"But I think he will rise to the challenge and is going to have a very good season," Smith added. "I think he is one of the best and will just keep getting better every day."


Hawgs Daily Top Stories