VAN BUREN - The debate will continue to rage on about which of the state of Arkansas' 2011 prep hoops prospects is the best, but not about which one is the most improved.
That honor clearly goes to Van Buren's Hooper Vint (6-11, 210), who didn't even start last season but just finished a banner junior campaign.
Vint, the son of former University of Arkansas basketball player Bobby Vint, averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 block shots this season for a 19-10 tam while showing off lots of athleticism.
"I felt I made great improvement, was able to score a lot and it was just a really great year," Vint said. "It was fun. I just wished we could have gone a little longer."
His season ended last Wednesday at the state tournament when Springdale downed Van Buren 69-60.
The Pointers led 19-9 early in the second quarter when Vint had to go to the bench with his second foul – a technical one for hanging on the rim after a dunk.
With Vint out, Springdale rallied to take a 31-30 lead by halftime.
"I really hated for it to end like that and that technical really turned things around," Vint said. "But we started four juniors and a sophomore so we are going to have to have a great chance to go out and win state next season."
Vint, who put on 20 pounds in between seasons, had 24 points and 6 rebounds in the loss, which happened in the Pointers' home arena.
"The jump he made from the end of last season to the start of this season was remarkable," Van Buren head coach Randy Loyd told the Southwest Times Record. "His confidence grew because of the time he spent in the weight room, playing summer ball, and the offseason workouts this fall."
His improvement has brought him interest from Arkansas, UALR, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Alabama, Missouri State and Wichita State.
"Right now, the mid-major schools are ready to offer him (an athletic scholarship)," Pointer coach Randy Loyd told the Southwest Times Record "Some big-name schools are sending letters, but have not really talked to him yet. Being 6-11, depending on what kind of progress he makes from now until next fall, the sky is the limit for him."
Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey has been to see him play.
"I think Arkansas is young, but headed in the right direction with Coach Pelphrey," Vint said. "…I have been up to some of their games and got to know him and really like him."
He certainly should have a chance to experience a lot of success this spring and summer as he competes for a star-studded Arkansas Wings AAU squad.
Vint will team up with 6-10 Hunter Mickelson, 6-5 Ky Madden, 6-8 Arkansas commit Aaron Ross, 6-5 David Rivers and Micha Delph among others this spring and summer.
The Wings will open the Real Deal in the Rock on Friday night April 16 at 7:30 p.m. with a game against Team Final out of Philadelphia that features 2011 stars Michael Gilchrest and Rakeem Christmas.
"They are all just great players and it is really fun playing with them," Vint said. "We should be very good."
Photo by Jason Ivester
An Improving Hooper
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