Living Up To His Name

On his way to likely being one of two future 7-footers in the state that are currently just in the ninth grade , Van Buren's Hooper "Hoops" Vint (6-10, 190) is one of the top prospects in Arkansas' loaded 2011 class.

LITTLE ROCK - When your nickname is Hoops, you better be able to play a little bit.

Hooper "Hoops" Vint (6-10, 190) can and that's why the University of Arkansas is among the schools already showing interest in the sophomore-to-be.

Vint, whose dad Bobby played at Arkansas from 1968-71 and who has coached both on the high school and college levels, was on display this weekend while playing for the Arkansas Hawks at the 15-and-under AAU State Tournament.

"He has always given me real good tips and pointers," Vint said. "He's a great dad. I would like to follow his footsteps and play for the Razorbacks one day."

Vint just might get that chance because while not offering yet, Arkansas and head coach John Pelphrey have made him aware they are considering doing so in the future.

"I love Coach Pelphrey and think he is a real nice guy," Vint said. "The fact that he was a player himself I think really helps him connect with players."

Vint and Jonesboro Westside's Hunter Mickelson (6-9, 175) – another 2011 prospect who was offered by the Razorbacks on Sunday – give the state two future superstars in the paint with both likely growing to or near 7-feet tall.

"I don't know that I have seen two this size in the ninth grade in my 29 years of being involved with basketball in Arkansas," Crawford said. "These guys are really talented and they both have a chance to be absolutely fantastic basketball players."

While both obviously need to and likely will put on weight as they mature, they do both bring solid skill sets to the court.

"They are – as we might say – undernourished, but both have great skill sets and anticipation," Arkansas Wings assistant coach Ron Crawford said. "They both have great hands, feet and shot-blocking ability and both of them have great shots."

The two met up on Sunday with Mickelson's Wings team downing Vint's Hawks 65-42 in the championship game.

"I had never seen him play or met him before this weekend," Vint said. "I think we are both going to be pretty good if we keep working hard."

Vint's defense is ahead of his offense at this point.

"I am really trying to work on my post offense," Vint said. "My defense is pretty good, in part from me being 6-10, but I am working on my moves down low and trying to get stronger with better footwork."

Mickelson and fellow Wings players Ky Madden and Aaron Ross – all 2011 prospects who have been offered by Arkansas – have all already played a year of high school basketball.

Vint will make that jump up this season after playing junior high basketball as a ninth grader.

"We lost a lot of good players, but I think we are still going to be pretty good," Vint said. "There will be a lot bigger guys in high school and I am looking forward to the challenge."

Before that he'll have AAU tournaments in Nashville, Las Vegas, Orlando and Kansas to keep improving against top competition.

"This is my first year of playing with these guys and I am really enjoying it," Vint said. "The competition is great and I know it is just helping me get better and better each game."

Hooper Vint

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