Making The Grade

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson checks in with Miller School head coach Fred Wawner on the progress on and off the court of UA hoops signee Marshawn Powell (6-7, 230), a top 50 player nationally. 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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If you've listen to a radio sports call in show or read a University of Arkansas related message board lately, one rumor has certainly taken on a life of its own.

That would be concerning the eligibility of Razorback basketball power forward signee Marshawn Powell (6-7, 230), a consensus nationally Top 50 player who is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds this season for The Miller School in Charlottesville, Va.

He is one of three UA fall signees, but arguably Powell -'s 47th-ranked player in the country - that fills the biggest need.

The way some are talking – and I guess the words should actually be speculating or even guessing - there is no way Powell is going to make it to Fayetteville.

I have even had one usually very reliable source call to tell me that he heard Powell's head coach Fred Wawner was saying Powell would be in prep school at The Patterson (NC) School instead of at Arkansas next season.

Wawner said Tuesday morning that he has said nothing of the sort.

"Whoever is saying that has not talked to me because that is not what I think is going to happen and I have never said that," Wawner said. "I think Marshawn will be making plays for (Arkansas head coach) John Pelphrey and Arkansas next season."

It's well known that Powell, good friends with current Razorback and fellow Virginia native Stefan Welsh, was not a good student in the 9th and 10th grades while at Newport News (Va.) Menchville.

As chronicled by myself in several previous stories, Powell has been playing catch-up since that point – which is when he transferred to The Miller School.

"As we have talked about before, Marshawn has been playing catch-up since he got here, but he has done a wonderful job in doing that," Wawner said. "He is a work in progress and it is true that if it was today, he would not be qualified. But that's because he is not finished with school. He is well on his way to having what he needs to be there at Arkansas next fall.

"It is going to be a proud day for us all when he walks across that stage in a navy blue blazer and tie and gets his Miller School diploma," Wawner said. "It is something that he is going to do and will be quite the comeback for the young man."

On the court, Powell is getting it done as well as evidenced by the fact that he has led the Miller School to a 18-3 mark entering Tuesday night's game with rival Blue Ridge.

"He really has done a great job with his face-up game this season," Wawner said. "We have two other 6-8 guys and we put Marshawn on the wing at times and he has gotten it done out there. In fact, he is our leading 3-point shooter and recently had 5 3-pointers in a game where he had 34 points.

"But it is down there on the inside where he has really made a name for himself and continues to do so," Wawner said. "He gets his work done in a variety of ways down there and is going to be a great offensive force for Arkansas there next season."

Wawner notes that Powell has also improved his defense this season.

"He has consistently guarded the other team's offensive guy and made great strides in his effort on that end of the court," Wawner said. "I can't say enough good things about him and what he has done this season for us. He always rises to the challenge."

There has always been a lot of speculation about Powell's height with reports ranging from 6-5 ½ to 6-8.

"I can tell you with certainty that he is 6-7," Wawner said. "That may be a little undersized by SEC standards for a power forward, but he knows how to use his big body. Nobody is going to keep him from scoring. I wouldn't go as far as to say he is an old-school guy, but he just knows how to get it done on the offensive end. I know that will help John and them next season."

O o o

Jemal Farmer and Anthony Borden – the other two fall signees – continue to have solid seasons.

Farmer a 6-5, 210-pound small forward from Cloud County (KA) Community College is averaging 17.5 points per game.

Borden, a 7-0, 230-pound center from West Memphis, is averaging 13 points. 10 rebounds and 7 blocks per game for a 17-5 team.

O o o

Arkansas had Madison (Miss.) Central prep star Jeremy Adams – a 6-5, 210-pound shooting guard who averaged 24 points and 7 rebounds this season - in on an official visit this past weekend.

"I really enjoyed my visit and loved being around the players and coaches," Adams said. "They all seem like a family and made me feel very welcomed. The atmosphere was great, too. They have great fans and the facilities are just amazing."

Arkansas lost to Kentucky 79-63 with the Razorbacks playing without starting point guard Courtney Fortson.

"I love watching him (Fortson) playing on TV and they were limited in what they can do without him," Adams said. "But I liked the way they get up and down the court and know he would be a lot of fun to play with."

Adams, who then made his way on to Texas A&M for an unofficial visit, had his season end last Tuesday.

Marshawn Powell

Marshawn Powell

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