Arthur Lets Loose

ST. LOUIS -- Anybody who takes a realistic view of college basketball and recruiting has learned to accept that things have changed since the days when guys like Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant were declaring for the draft. Think about it, the success of those guys -- and several others -- has changed the way high school prospects are evaluated.

As we near a decade since the cream of the high school crop started favoring truancy during their college years, Darrell Arthur has a chance to be that kid. He could be another kid to skip college, or maybe he could be the kid who chooses fighting for a national championship over the draft.

One thing is for sure, he's not a glory-hog and isn't worried about feeding into any hype when reporters are shoving microphones in his face.

"I don't really talk," says Arthur with a shy but polite smile. "I might (if there wasn't a microphone) say more."

Soft-spoken as he is, Arthur was looking forward to the KMOX Shootout in St. Louis, even if his team did end up losing in a surprise to St. Charles (Mo.) Howell Central. In a 20-point and 13-board effort, Arthur let his game do the talking in an evening where his guards struggled to get him the ball. He didn't complain either.

"Coach said we should have gotten the ball inside more," said Arthur of James Mays' postgame comments. "Most of the time he was right, probably more than that."

Actually, what Arthur showed that he can do above and beyond anything else is rebound the basketball. Because of his quick feet, hands and instinct, Arthur goes and finds the ball even if he doesn't see it. He's the kind of guy who rips the ball down from shot clock level and his offense is coming along just fine.

College is the early plan and he likes Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas and North Carolina. From the sounds of it, UNC made their interest known long ago.

"Coach Roy Williams has been saying he likes me a lot and that's good," said Arthur. "Since the eighth grade really, (Carolina) has been recruiting me."

Where does the NBA eventually fit into this picture? Arthur can run, he can jump, he can put the ball in the basket. He can only get better as he learns to play to his potential on a nightly basis so the question often comes up.

Odds are if you talk to him, he'll probably shy away from NBA talk in a polite manner. While colleges hunt his services, he may end up as game for the pros but he's not looking too far ahead.

"I'm just trying to play this year. It's what I'm focusing on."

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