Arthur a Unique Player

Few who have seen him perform to his potential will dispute that Darrell Arthur is one of the premier talents in the class of 2006. At his best the 6-9 forward from Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff runs the floor with grace, rebounds, blocks shots, makes medium to deep range jumpers and impacts the game in almost every aspect.

Inside Carolina recently caught up with Arthur's high school coach James Mays, who explained exactly what it is that has drawn the attention of college programs all over the country.

"I guess it's his energy level when he plays like he's capable of playing," Mays said. "He runs the floor, he rebounds, he makes shots and he's a very good athlete. Coaches just love the athleticism that he has for size."

In fact it doesn't take long to notice Arthur's ample athleticism. He's ridiculously quick off of the floor with his first and second jumps, moves very well laterally and sprints like a much smaller player. Because of his unique athleticism and the flashes of brilliance that he's shown, perhaps some have come to expect too much out of a kid who is still learning the game.

During the summer Arthur followed AAU coach Jazzy Hartwell from Nike-backed Team Texas to Reebok-backed Urban DFW Elite. The change also meant taking his first trip to ABCD camp rather than returning to Nike All-American camp where he had been the previous two summers. Along the way he experienced some bumps and was criticized pretty harshly at times.

According to his high school coach, much of it was unwarranted.

"My opinion is that it wasn't always fair. A lot of times you have to get to know the kid and the situation he's in and people don't really know him," said Mays. "He's a kid who shares the ball and he expects others to do the same. In a camp situation that doesn't always happen and I knew that he'd struggle some. It was good because if it frightened anybody off then they weren't serious to begin with."

It isn't that Mays is trying to make excuses for his young star -- he's just trying to help people understand where Arthur is coming from. In a day when many high school stars are motivated by rankings and free shoes, Arthur is a quiet kid who just wants to trust the guys he's around and to try and win. In fact, trust will play a huge role in his recruitment.

"Wherever he ends up, he's really going to have to trust the people that he's around," said Mays. "He comes from a single parent household where his father hasn't been involved on a daily basis. It tends to make him not trust people initially and they really have to earn his trust."

At this point Arthur has narrowed his list down to Baylor, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, SMU and Texas and he's already set up officials with all of them save for Texas -- they'll get an unofficial visit -- and Indiana (will visit, no date set). As for the Heels' involvement, Mays says they've let Arthur know where he stands with them.

"Coach Williams and Coach Robinson are doing a good job," said Mays. "They are basically trying to convey to him that they admire and appreciate who he is and who he can be."

Not surprisingly, the defending national champions' program pretty much sells itself.

"Obviously he likes North Carolina and the whole mystique about them," said Mays. " I think he likes the historical aspect of the program and it really isn't a tough sell."

With Arthur's visit to Chapel Hill set for the weekend of September 30th, it is mostly about getting a better idea of the program and environment that surrounds it.

"He'll try to get a feel for the coaching staff and the players," said Mays. "There's nothing that he's specifically looking for, he's just trying to get a feel for the whole atmosphere."

After wrapping up his visits, Arthur will then take some time to ponder his trips and make a decision. Actually, he's going to take lots of time and isn't planning on deciding until the spring.

"By waiting that long he'll really be able to get an idea of who wants him the most," said Mays. "The people that really want him will still be there and it will separate those that don't. All of the schools recruiting him know that he wants to wait."

In the meantime, Arthur is going to take his visits and then focus on defending the state championship that he and his teammates won last season. He'll also look to get better.

"I would like to see his ball handling get a little better," said Mays. "If he can get that ball handling a little sharper he can go to the next level in a big way."

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