Like every other Division I college basketball staff, the University of Arkansas coaches recently finished up with the Sept. 9-Oct. 5 recruiting contact period.
It gave those like Razorback head coach John Pelphrey the opportunity to visit in homes and at schools with 2010 prospects and take a look at some future stars as well.
"I was really very proud of how our coaches worked so hard and the reception that we got from the young men that we are recruiting and their families," Pelphrey said. "It was really a good time for us and we got to see a lot of recruits and promote our program."
Arkansas got out to a 12-1 start last season with wins over Top 10 national foes Oklahoma and Texas before skidding home by losing 15 of its last 17 games.
"We never really did have to combat that," Pelphrey said. "The recruits and their parents wanted to talk about the future, not about what had happened. They wanted to know what it would like if they came to play for the Razorbacks."
Pelphrey knows how important getting a great 2010 class and 2011 class are for the rebirth of the program.
Pelphrey and his staff have spent a lot of attention on 2011 in-state prospects Ky Madden (6-5, 180) of East Poinsett County, Hunter Mickelson (6-10, 190) of Jonesboro Westside and UA commit Aaron Ross (6-8, 220).
All three are top 65 players nationally in that 2011 recruiting class per Scout were here last weekend along with 2011 Florida prep star Wayne Martin, Jr.
"We have had the opportunity to get a couple of commits (in the 2010 class) from some outstanding players and are hoping to add a couple more," Pelphrey said. "Then if we can add in a great 2011 class we could really have the program headed to where it needs to be."
Arkansas has a pair 2010 four-star commits in guards Mardracus Wade (6-3, 170) of Hargrave Military Academy – by way of Memphis - and Rickey Scott (6-3, 195) of Irving (Texas) McArthur.
Both commits are prospects that Dave Telep, Scout.com's national director of scouting, really likes.
"I think Mardracus is one of - if not the – best defensive guards in the class," Telep said. "He is a combo guard that can really lock down people and affect a game in a big way with just his defense alone.
"He is also very good at getting to the basket, very strong inside the lane and just needs to continue to improve his outside shot to be one of the best out there there," Telep added. "He is extremely athletic and if he gets that shot down, he is just going to be killing it for Arkansas."
Scott brings more offense to the table.
"He is a really strong, athletic guy and someone who can shoot it and get to the rim," Telep said. "He has SEC level athleticism, SEC level strength and is really going to give Arkansas a lot.
"He is a guy that could play up to three positions and certainly defend three," Telep added. "You drop him down into that mix and see where he fits, but he is definitely going to be an impact guys and one that Arkansas will get several years of starting out of."
The Razorbacks should get a decision soon for Tallahassee (FL) Community College combo forward Marvell Waithe (6-9, 215), who visited Arkansas this past weekend along with Wade.
Waithe, a former Mr. Basketball in Canada in 2006, will make a decision between Arkansas and Rugters after visiting the Scarlet Knights this weekend.
"It's Arkansas and Rutgers, where I will go on Saturday," Waithe said. "I have decided those are the only two visits that I am going to take and I will announce a decision right after that."
Waithe, Mr. Basketball in Canada back in 2006, was pleased with what he found on his first visit to Fayetteville this weekend and with head coach John Pelphrey's program.
"It was really nice," Waithe said. "I got to hang out with the guys on the team, get to know the coaches better, our relationship got even stronger and I got to go to a great football game. It was a great atmosphere. Then I had a great visit and a great meal at Coach Pelphrey's house. I have no complaints about my visit. It was great."
Waithe, who averaged 18.9 points and 8.6 rebounds last season for TCC, likes the way he will be used if he signs with the Razorbacks.
"They told me that they did not have a player like me and they planned to use me in a very unique way," Waithe said. "I will play both the 3 and the 4 for them and take advantages of mismatches.
"If I am playing the 3, most small forwards in the SEC are like 6-4, 6-5, 6-6 and I will be able to just shoot over them," Waithe added. "At the 4, most of the SEC power forwards are 6-8 or 6-9, but are not as quick as I am so I would be able to get around them. All that would help me continue to develop as a player."
The Razorbacks' staff is also known to be very interested in Ocala (Fla.) Central Florida Community College power forward Ricardo Ratliffe (6-8, 238) – a former AAU teammate of current UA freshman Marshawn Powell and someone who will sign late.
"He is a high major college power forward without question," Telep said. "It takes most junior college guys some time, but he won't be like that. He'll come in, be a starter and will have a positive and immediate impact right away."
o o o Key 2009-2010 Basketball Recruiting Dates:
Sept. 9- Oct. 5 - Contact Period
Oct. 6-March 31 - Evaluation Period
Nov. 11-18 - Early Signing Period
April 14-May 19 – Spring Signing Period
July 6-15 - Evaluation Period
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