Hard-nosed Hoopster

In his weekly recruiting column, Hawgs Illustrated's Dudley E. Dawson writes about Mississippi prep basketball standout Julysess Nobles (6-1, 170), who is taking an official visit to Arkansas this weekend. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free, as is an offer to attend a Razorback game. Click on the Arkansas Toyota banner.

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It's not often a prospect goes from being regarded as the third best option on his team to one of the top contenders for Mr. Basketball in Mississippi.

But that's the path Jackson Callaway guard Julyses Nobles (6-1, 170) – set to officially visit the University of Arkansas this week end - took this season while leading head coach Wayne Brent's team to the Class 4A and overall state titles in the Magnolia State.

"He averaged around 13 or 14 points last season, but he was definitely our third option behind (nationally ranked freshmen) LaQuinton Ross and Deville Smith," Brent said. "LaQuinton transferred and that really opened it up for Julysess, he worked extremely hard in the offseason workouts and he obviously became one of – if not the – best players in the state."

According to former Ole Miss assistant Brent, Nobles averaged 20.6 points, 6.1 assists, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game this season for a 33-6 team.

That has brought about scholarship offers from Arkansas, UAB (where he visited last weekend), Florida State, Tulane, Wichita State and Georgia State.

"He really threw himself into the offseason workouts in the weight room, one the track and on the court," Brent said. "All that hard work really paid off for him. He was stronger, can really handle the ball, shoot it, pass it and he plays tough defense.

"I was in the league (SEC) for six years and he reminds me a lot of Antoine Pettaway - a guard at Alabama who is now a coach there," Brent said. "They are both small, but extremely tough, been told they can't do things and then gone right out there and proven they can. I know he can play in the SEC."

It appeared Florida State might have been be the frontrunner for Nobles until the combination of Arkansas jumping into the picture and the Seminoles being hit with NCAA penalties.

Florida State is losing a scholarship and thus might not have one for Nobles during this April 15-May 26 spring signing period.

"Florida State is asking him to hold off a week on committing to Arkansas or someone else to wait and see if they can't win their appeal," Brent said.

"What I have told him is that he has some great offers and what happens if Florida State doesn't get that scholarship back – what would he do, like walk on or something?" Brent said. "He and I both agree he has good enough options that he doesn't need to wait around on anybody."

Arkansas has been on Nobles for the last month with assistant Isaac Brown leading the way and head coach John Pelphrey making it to the player's two games in the overall tournament - which is termed The Grand Slam in Mississippi.

"They have made it clear to us how much they want him and how they think he could help what they are trying to build there at Arkansas," Brent said.

Nobles would certainly be the type player that could fit in well in an up-tempo system that Pelphrey wants to put on the floor.

In addition to playing basketball, Nobles runs cross country – as do all the basketball players since Brent is also the cross country coach.

"In Mississippi we can't have any after school workouts when that sport is not in season," Brent said. "So I became the cross country coach and we had everybody out so we could work on basketball conditioning while also participating in cross country."

The Razorbacks started the season 12-1 with wins over two top 10 as squads before spiraling to a 14-16 finish.

"I know that Arkansas didn't have a great year, but I think that was just a rebuilding year and they were very, very young and lost a lot of people," Brent said. "I think they are going to have the coaches and the players to be right back in the mix of things beginning next season and I think it would be a great place for him.

"I think he would get great coaching at Arkansas and being in the SEC where four or five or six teams usually get into the NCAA Tournament would certainly be better for him than going to a smaller school in a conference where you have to win the tournament to get in," Brent added. "It just seems like a good match."

Julysess Nobles

Julysess Nobles

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