FORREST CITY – With the head coaches of his top two college teams looking on, East Poinsett County junior guard Ky Madden certainly didn't disappoint on Thanksgiving.
The 6-5, 180-pound Madden had 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists to lead his Warriors over Lafayette (LA) St. Thomas More 60-47 Thursday afternoon in the opening game of the 13th annual Rumble on the Ridge.
Madden was 8-of-11 from the field and 6-of-9 from the free throw line in the win with University of Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy and Marcus Monk – his cousin and the former Razorback football and basketball player - in the stands.
"I consider myself wide open, but Arkansas and Ole Miss are definitely my top 2 in no certain order," Madden said. "But I am really not to worried about recruiting. I am just trying to help my team win and if we play defense like we did tonight, we can win the state."
Madden has offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss, Baylor, Florida and Memphis among others.
"I probably won't make a decision until my senior year," Madden said. "But really, it will just be when it hits me where the right place is. Marcus is helping me get through it all and saying the most important thing is to concentrate on the team and the rest of it can come later."
The win moves EPC into a 5 p.m. winners' semifinal game Friday against Jonesboro Westside and his good friend Hunter Mickelson (6-10, 190).
Mickelson had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks as his team beat Cleveland (MS) Westside 46-42 in the three-day event's second game on Thursday.
That pair along with Little Rock Parkview forward Aaron Ross (6-8, 225) are three 2011 players – all of whom are ranked in the top 65 nationally by Scout.com - that Arkansas hopes to land to revitalize its program.
"I know a lot of people would like for us all to come up there and play together," Madden said. "I really like the coaches at Arkansas. I have been up there a lot and like everything about it."
EPC head coach Josh Hill said Madden just brushes off all of the recruiting attention.
"It doesn't bother him a bit," Hill said. "To everybody's knowledge he is still wide open and this stuff doesn't faze him one bit. I think one day he will just show up and tell us where he is going and that will be that."
Hill noticed Pelphrey and Kennedy in the stands as well.
"He really likes both of those guys and so do I," Hill said. "They are both great guys. We have been on both campuses and they both run really good programs and are doing things the right way."
Madden hit an 8-foot jumper just a few seconds into the third quarter to break a 23-23 halftime tie and EPC never trailed from that point on."
Leading 30-29, the Warriors took control of the game with a 17-5 run that began late in the third frame and led into the fourth.
Madden had 8 of his points in the final quarter to help cushion that lead.
"He is getting better every day," Hill said. "He is getting a little more mature physically and mentally. I thought he played a really good ballgame tonight. He made a couple of bad decisions, but that is going to happen when you have the ball in your hands 80 percent of the game."
Darius Barnes had 14 points and Jori Ford 10 for EPC.
"We are three sophomores and two juniors and it shows as times," Hill said. "We haven't found a shooting rhythm yet this year, but we have really guarded and that has been our emphasis in this early part of the year."
The Warriors shot just 46 percent in the game, but held the Louisiana squad to just 40 percent.
"When you go 3-of-18 from 3-point range and still win by double digits, well, that makes me pretty pleased with our defensive effort," Hill said.
Xavier Blackburn, a 6-4 senior, had 22 points and 8 rebounds to lead St. Thomas More.
In the third game of the day, Forrest City made the Arkansas teams 3-0 with a 59-58 win over Russellville (AL) Oxford.
Larry Rogers had 18 points and Willie Bean 15 to lead the victors.
Madden 2011 A Must Have
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