The Early Class

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson takes a look at the three expected University of Arkansas signees as the week-long early signing period opens on Wednesday. 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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One of the University of Arkansas' trio of expected early basketball signees is off to a sizzling start.

That would be Cloud County Community College's Jemal Farmer (6-5, 215), who is averaging 21 points, shooting 52 percent from the field and 77 percent at the charity stripe as the week-long early signing period opens Wednesday.

The numbers would be even better – seeing as how he put up 24 and 30 points in his first two games - had not a thigh bruise limited him to a few minutes in his team's third game and kept him out of the fourth one.

"I've just been putting up a lot of shots and they are going in," Farmer said. "We've been playing well as a team and everything is going good so far."

Farmer, power forward Marshawn Powell (6-7, 230) of Charlottesville (Va.) will sign Wednesday morning and West Memphis center Anthony Borden (7-0, 230) Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Although Powell will sign Wednesday, his letter of intent has to be mailed to his mom and then faxed in so he may not be announced officially until later in the week.

Farmer's team will be back in action Wednesday when Cloud (4-0) visits Independence in Kansas Jayhawk Conference, but he will be out with his injury.

"It's an important game for us," Farmer said. "They are an Eastern Division team, one of the best one in the conference and we know we are going to get their best effort because we put them out of the playoffs last season. So we have to be ready.

"I want to play but coach want let me play because he doesn't want me to get hurt worse."

Cloud has scored at least 94 points in three of its games with 113 being the high.

"We have got a lot of guys on this team that can get things done offensively and we have been getting up and down the court," Farmer said. "It's been fun. "

Powell, ranked as the 47th-best player nationally by, doesn't begin his season until Dec. 4 with the Atlantic Shores Tip-off Classic.

Soon after Powell and his squad will compete in the 16-team Chick-Fil-A Classic Dec. 19-23 in Columbia, S.C.

That event will also feature other outstanding big guys such as Kentucky commit Daniel Orton and Duke commit Mason Plumlee, brother of current Blue Devil Miles Plumlee.

Miller School head coach Jack Wawner expects big things from Powell, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds last season, when it does open.

"Marshawn is a special kid whose greatest asset may be his basketball IQ," Wawner said. "He really understands the game better than most 17 or 18 year olds.

"He also is very, very skilled, great with his back to the basket, has great hands and catches anything thrown to him," Waner continued. "He has great footwork and can also face up and knock down the shot and I think is going to be a great player for Coach Pelphrey."

Borden, who had 6 points (all on dunks) and 6 rebounds in limited action in a season-opening win over Cabot Tuesday night, could either land at Arkansas in 2009 or in 2010 if he goes to a prep school first either for academics or development.

"He has really come a long way and I think he will likely put up more points than anybody in the state this season," Arkansas Hawks AAU coach Bill Ingram said. "But in all honesty, it's that big time future that has everybody buzzing about him."

Borden, who averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds last season, chose Arkansas over Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Xavier and UAB.

"Arkansas is going to follow him this season and evaluate him and then make a decision on whether he joins them next season or goes to a prep school for a year," Ingram said. "If he does go to prep school, he'll be an absolute monster and a top 25 player nationally by the time he gets out of there. But we'll just see how it goes. He might be ready to help next season."

Marshawn Powell

Anthony Borden

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