What The Future Holds

Arkansas will field a totally different looking team next season with redshirt freshman forward Michael Sanchez joining possibly as many as seven signees taking the court for the Razorbacks.

When asked by a North Carolina writer about the future of the University of Arkansas basketball program, Razorback head coach John Pelphrey's eyes lit up.

No doubt the question was asked because six seniors are headed out the door.

"Well, we are going to be a different basketball team, that is for sure," Pelphrey said. "We are losing over half of it. We'll probably take a step back with our program in terms of experience and maybe some talent in some areas.

"But at the same time, I think it is a wonderful opportunity for the guys that are coming through the door and we are excited about who we had the chance to recruit and we are looking forward to whatever else is out there for us."

Indeed Arkansas will most likely add two more players to a talented recruiting class that already includes five signees that will join 6-8, 235-pound redshirt freshman Michael Sanchez in a talent infusion to the Razorback roster.

That quintet includes point guard Courtney Fortson (5-10, 175), combo guard Rotnei Clarke (6-1, 180), small forward Daniel Payne (6-7, 205), power forward Brandon Moore (now 6-9, 225) and forward Andre Clark (6-10, 205), who has been practicing with the Razorbacks this semester after enrolling in January.

"It's going to be a big change in the terms of the face of Razorback basketball," Pelphrey said. "A lot of really good kids. A lot of really good players."

Pelphrey has plans to add two specific type of players in the spring signing period, which runs from April 15-May 26.

"I think the biggest thing we need is a big, rugged frontcourt guy," Pelphrey said. "We are losing so much. It's been a luxury this season with so many big guys.

"…We would also like to add another perimeter guy to help out," Pelphrey added. "Some older guys."

Three guys that Arkansas is known to be recruiting that fit that mold are:

• former West Memphis star and current Cincinnati Harmony Prep standout Jason Henry (6-7, 195), who recently visited Arkansas unofficially and is a two-year prep school guy.

• former Vanderbilt player and current Los Angelas (CA) Southwest Community College power guy JeJuan Brown (6-7, 220).

• former Eastern Michigan player, Indianapolis prepster and current Vincennes (IN) University star Devon Dumes (6-2, 185).

It's also thought that Arkansas would not be adverse to taking a player that might be looking to get out of his letter-of-intent after a coaching change with the school he signed or a high-major transfer.

Henry, rated as high as the 28th best player in the country in 2007 by one recruiting service, averaged 27 points this season for Harmony, which went 29-1 this season.

Henry, who originally signed with Cincinnati, is also considering Providence and Nebraska, but has Arkansas atop his list.

Brown, a native of Biloxi, Miss. who was a top 100 player nationally out of high school, played an average of 13 minutes per game during the 2006-2007 season for Vanderbilt.

He left the school in October for "personal reasons" and played last semester for LA Southwest while averaging 14.3 points.

Dumes averaged 24.4 points per game as a high school senior for Indianapolis Decatur Central while being named to the all-Marion County team with Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Eric Gordon.

He then put in 8.1 points per game for Eastern Michigan – fourth-best on the team - with 13 double-figure scoring efforts as a true freshman and playing an average of 18 minutes per game.

After a coaching change, Dumes moved on to Vincennes. He averaged a team-high 16.9 points per game this season for a 28-6 team.

Dumes hit 40 percent of his 3-pointers this season (109-of-273) while also getting to the free throw line 153 times and connecting at a 84 percent clip from the charity stripe.

Arkansas was in attendance last week at the National Junior College Tournament where Dumes had 21 and 17 points in a pair of losses.


Hawgs Daily Top Stories