The Mickelson Reunion

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson chats with 2011 hoops prospect Hunter Mickelson (6-10) and his dad Darin, who recently returned from Iraq. 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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JONESBORO - The best part of my Monday in the land of the Red Wolves was not watching 6-10 sophomore Hunter Mickelson of Jonesboro Westside score 26 points, grab 9 rebounds and block 7 shots.

It wasn't even seeing University of Arkansas head basketball coach John Pelphrey and assistant Tom Ostrom salivate over the possibility of this class young man don a Razorback jersey.

And it most certainly was not the referee who called two touch fouls on Mickelson that got the crowd, the UA coaches and myself mad at him as we did come to watch him sit by his coach.

No, the best part came after Jonesboro had downed Westside 50-45 to avenge last year's defeat in the tournament.

It was seeing the look of pure joy on the face of Hunter's dad Darin – who has just returned home for good after being in Iraq.

"It's unexplainable," Mr. Mickelson said. "I got back from my third deployment, had not seen him in a year and walked into the gym. He had grown three inches and put on 20 pounds. It is just a unreal joy to be here and see him play and the best part is that I have two more years to see him play high school ball after this."

There's very little question that after Mickelson finishes his high school career that he will then have plenty of college games to play.

Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Baylor and Wake Forest have already put offers on the table and tons more are likely to come.

He is one of the so-called Baby Wings (all 2011 prospects who play for the Arkansas Wings AAU program) that Pelphrey so much wants to make the Baby Razorbacks.

The Arkansas coach already has a commitment from Little Rock Parkview forward Aaron Ross (6-7, 220) and has extended offers to Mickelson and 6-4 East Poinsett County guard Ky Madden, the cousin of current Razorback Marcus Monk.

This was the second time that Pelphrey had been in Jonesboro to watch Mickelson play in 8 days.

Mickelson had 25 points and 11 rebounds in his team's win over Blytheville the previous Monday with Pelphrey looking on.

"He has come to see me play a lot and I am very honored when he does," Mickelson said. "I have been up there for football games, he's been to practice and I can tell how interested they are in me."

Mickelson was 11-for-11 from the field and 4-of-4 when he cashed in an 8-footer that gave his team a 41-37 lead with 5:23 left in the game.

He showed off his vast array of skills with outside shots, great moves inside, a dunk and just a solid knowledge of the game.

"It is really uncommon for a big guy to have that touch and to run the floor like he does," Mr. Mickelson said. "He is so blessed, but he works so hard, too.

"He's got more passion and dedication than I ever dreamed he could have, certainly more than I had when I was 16 years old," Mr. Mickelson added. "I am a very proud dad."

Hunter is a very proud son as well.

"I am so happy with my dad being home," Mickelson said. "It's just nice to hang around him. We'll go work on things in the gym or we'll duck hunting. It's obviously a great time for us."

The dad has come home to find out that Razorback sports fans – and big-time college coaches - all know his son's name.

"Isn't that something?" Mr. Mickelson said. "The best thing is that it is wonderful for our community. When the coaches come to town, it brings a lot of excitement for the other kids and parents. That makes it even better."





Hunter Mickelson





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