Razorbacks Host Jack

In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson catches up with New York City Rice standout Kadeem Jack (6-8, 190), who is on an official visit to the University of Arkansas this weekend. This story is free and sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. Click on the Arkansas Toyota.

When New York City high school basketball star Kadeem Jack announces his decision next Wednesday, it will come from a list of quality schools.

Not only the University of Arkansas - where Jack (6-8, 190) is taking an official visit this weekend – but UConn, Arizona and Miami make up his final four.

There's also one other option for the Trinidad-born resident of Queens and that's taking his game to prep school for a year.

"If I feel like I need the extra year to get my skills up, then I think prep school would be the way to go," Jack said. "But right now I am leaning toward going to college right now. On the 28th, I will have a clear cut decision."

Arkansas is taking its best shot this weekend with Jack, who averaged 16.9 points this season and has only been playing organized basketball for four years after making the switch from soccer.

"It (Arkansas) is more than I thought it would be," Jack said. "The people are great. The arena is much bigger than I thought. I want to study business. I was speaking to the director of the business school and he told me a lot of good things about it."

Jack does have a previous relationship with fellow New Yorker Chad Babel, who is on the Razorback support staff.

"I actually met Chad when I first started playing basketball about four years ago," Jack said. "I have known him for a long time. He's a good guy and someone I trust."

The UA coaches have let Jack know how welcomed he would be in Fayetteville.

"Arkansas has expressed that I could come and play a major part on their team next season," Jack said. "That makes it a very appealing situation for me."

Jack says there are a few things that will factor into that decision.

"What is going to make my decision is my development," Jack said. "I am really concerned about the development part of my week. I want to go to the college that shows me they can do that the best. I also want it to be a loving environment and where I will feel comfortable."

Jack has also taken unofficial visit to local schools St. John's and Seton Hall, but says distance from his home is not a factor.

"Distance will not go into my decision," Jack said. "Like I said before, it is about my development. That is all I am worrying about. I just want to work and then get to the next level."

Jack came out of nowhere on the recruiting trail this season after vast improvement over the summer.

He admits the recruiting attention left him dizzy.

"It was kind of overwhelming because I have never experienced anything like this," Jack said. "But it has been a good experience. I have got to meet new people and take some trips."

Jack thinks his increased level of play had to do with his increased level of intensity.

"I think I was more aggressive this year and I came out every game and played my heart out," Jack said. "I tried to dunk everything I could. I did all the little things and I did all the big things. What I tried to do was just stand out every game.

"Last year I think I was tentative on the court," Jack added. "But this year it was play hard and aggressive on each possession, run the floor and finish. I tried to play above the rim this season because there is a lot of people who are not as athletic as me."

In his last high school game, Jack had 21 points and 8 rebounds while playing in his team's 137-133 victory in the Jordan Brand Classic game at Madison Square Garden.

"It was fun playing with all my friends," Jack said. "We had a lot of fun. It was a great game."

While he is 6-8, Jack doesn't see himself as a back to the basket guy in college and instead thinks he will land at either small forward (3) or power forward (4).

"I see myself as a 3-4," Jack said. "One of the reasons I was thinking about prep school was to go there and hone my skills as a 3 instead of a 4. I think at a 4 right now I am more at a disadvantage right now because of my weight and strength. I think I am more of a weapon when I can put the ball on the floor and get from point to point as a 3."

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