A Big For The Future

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with West Memphis center Anthony Borden (6-11, 230), who is likely to be wearing a University of Arkansas jersey when he plays his college basketball. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner for details.

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It seems likely that the University of Arkansas basketball program will sign a very big home-grown young man for its 2009 recruiting class.

The only question seems to be whether West Memphis senior center Anthony Borden (6-11, 230), who had a breakout summer with the Arkansas Hawks AAU squad, will first don his Razorback jersey for the 2009-2010 or the 2010-2011 season.

"I guess I will go to prep school if I have to, but what I really want to do is go straight to college," Borden said. "I am working on taking my ACT right now and just trying to get things in order so I can do that."

Borden, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds last season for the Blue Devils, has offers from Arkansas, Missouri, UALR and Arkansas State along with interest from schools like Kentucky, Kansas and Alabama.

The Razorbacks clearly are at the top of that list.

"I really like Arkansas and that's where I can see myself playing," Borden said. "I love the way they get up and down the court and I love the way they work really hard. The coaching staff are all good guys and I think that might be the place for me."

Arkansas Hawks AAU coach Bill Ingram certainly wouldn't be surprised to see Borden end up being a Razorback.

"Anytime he is around me it is Razorbacks, Razorbacks, Razorbacks," Ingram said. "Be it next year or after a year of prep school, I think that is where he will definitely end up."

Until Borden takes the ACT, he is unable to take official visits.

"As soon as I get that taking care of, I want to get up there (Fayetteville)," Borden said.

Razorback head coach John Pelphrey spent a lot of time following the Hawks this spring and summer.

He and Ingram saw a young man - who is only entering his third season of playing competitive basketball - really develop from the start of the AAU campaign in April to the end of it in July.

"Here is a guy that you could see had potential from the start, but he really made a move by getting to play against a better level of competition both in the games and in practice for that matter," Ingram said. "He has really come along, gotten stronger, gotten better and is just scratching the surface because of his lack of playing.

"With this being just really his third year of organized basketball, he is just learning so much each day," Ingram said. "I mean some of our kids have played organized basketball since they were 7 or 8 and have played lots and lots of games."

Ingram thinks that if Borden does end up going to prep school a year, he will come out as one of the best players in the country.

"He is really a guy that obviously didn't get a ton of publicity, but is also a guy that people are telling me could come out as one of the top 50 players in the country if he goes to prep school and continues to get better," Ingram said. "He has a chance to really be big-time."

Borden believes that his game improved in several areas during the AAU campaign.

"I think my post move got a lot better, my hook shot really came along and I started playing more aggressively," Borden said. "I think it all really has helped me to become a better player."

The biggest asset Borden has is that size.

"You can do a lot of things with a kid that's nearly 7-feet tall," Ingram said. "That's a good start."

He's also bulked up from 205 to 230 since last season.

"I have been lifting weights and doing a lot of things," Borden said, "and I have eaten a lot to try and get bigger. It's working."

Ingram is also a big fan of Borden off the court.

"Here's a kid that has grown an inch and is a legit 6-11 now," Ingram said. "Also one of the more interesting things about him is, in a time when kids do some stuff differently, he is old school in that he is a yes-sir, no-sir guy who is as good a kid as you are going to find out there."

Borden gives West Memphis head coach Larry Bray, the Blue Devils' long time and ultra-successful, a lot of credit for getting his career going.

"He's a great coach and he really got me going for the long run," Borden said. "He taught me the hook shoot and how to work hard and it's all paying off now."

West Memphis returns all five starters from this past season.

"I think we really have a chance to win the state this year," Borden said. "I believe our first game is Nov. 11 and we're looking forward to getting started."

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