Hogs Host Bassett

University of Arkansas basketball coach John Pelphrey is staying quite busy these days and that includes hosting Indiana transfer Armon Bassett on an official visit beginning on Thursday and then watching former Razorback Sonny Weems hopefully get taken in the NBA Draft later that night.

It may be the off-season, but University of Arkansas head basketball coach John Pelphrey is a pretty busy guy these days.

Take Thursday for example – he'll begin hosting Indiana transfer Armon Bassett on an official visit, watch one of his former players most likely get taken in the NBA Draft and work on his charity golf tournament happening next Tuesday.

He'll also make a few plans for next week's basketball camp, make a few notes on the upcoming July evaluation period all while being in the middle of his family moving into a new house.

"Busy, busy, busy," Pelphrey said Wednesday after finishing up his first camp of the summer.

Pelphrey is still tinkering with his roster as evidence by the impending visit of Bassett, who was the Big 10's leading 3-point shooter last season at a 45.4 percent clip while dropping in 69 of them.

Arkansas actually ended Indiana's season in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament despite the efforts of Bassett, who had 21 points and 7 assists while swishing 5-3-pointers and going 7-of-9 from the field in what turned into an 86-72 Razorback win.

Bassett, who would have two years to play after sitting out the 2008-2009 season, has visited Texas A&M, West Virginia and Cincinnati already and sources indicate the visit to Arkansas will be his last one before announcing a decision.

He averaged 11.1 points last season while starting alongside freshman Eric Gordon, expected to be a lottery pick in Thursday night's draft, and is one of a whopping 11 players to either be dismissed or leave the Indiana program.

If Bassett – who former Arkansas coach Stan Heath recruited coming out of high school - watches the draft he will see former UA star Sonny Weems most likely get taken.

The same Weems that went off against Indiana for a career-high 31 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the field.

"We are certainly excited and he is very, very deserving," Pelphrey said. "He had a phenomenal year for us and there is no wonder that Sonny Weems has run into a lot of success here. He is tremendously talented, a lot of God-given ability, the most coachable guy in the team, hard-working and an unbelievable teammate. He was always very, very encouraging to his teammates. When you've got that characteristics, those qualities, you are going to have success."

Pelphrey thinks that Weems could go higher than mid-to-late second round that the so-called experts are projecting.

"We are still holding out hope that he may sneak into that first round," Pelphrey said. "That's a possibility, not just wishful thinking. That is a strong possibility. But you never know. It is the draft and crazy things do happen."

Several NBA teams have had Weems in for tryouts.

"I think the thing that if I was an NBA guy that makes Sonny Weems attractive is he has had tremendous success at every level, is a great athlete, which allows him with experience the potential to get better. I think that to me is the biggest upside to him – he is going to be a tremendous teammate and very coachable, you know what you are getting physically."

Pelphrey does feel that Weems best days are ahead of him.

"I think when Sonny gets a chance to go up there (the NBA) and play for a year, a year-and-a-half and is playing against guys that look like himself – can jump and run as fast as he does – I think he is going to learn how to play and develop," Peplhrey said. "I think he has a huge upside."

While fellow UA seniors Steven Hill, Darian Townes, Charles Thomas and Gary Ervin are not viewed as likely draftees, Pelphrey thinks all will likely be playing basketball someplace next year.

"I don't know what some of the other options are for those guys, but certainly I think he (Hill) and Darian Townes are going to have a chance to play some place," Pelphrey said. "I am sure Gary and Charles are working very, very hard and they are going to get some opportunities some place. I am not sure where, but there are just a lot of places to play basketball now."

o o o UA freshmen Andre Clark (who arrived in January), Rontei Clarke and Brandon Moore are already on campus and going through summer school and are expected to be joined this weekend by Courtney Fortson and junior college transfer Montrell McDonald.

Jason Henry, the Razorbacks' sixth signee, is taking a class in West Memphis and will hopefully join the team once he completes that and the NCAA Eligibility Center approves his transcript.

"Rotnei Clarke and Brandon Moore are here now in the first session of summer school and there are more guys coming," Pelphrey said.

"I have been pretty pleased with our junior class – Michael Washington, Stefan Welsh and Patrick Beverley," Pelphrey added. "They have done a very good job with those kids so far with leadership, work ethic and getting those guys in the right place."


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