DD/RD--? on in state hoops recruits

Nick Smith and Derrian Ford but seem likely to be consensus top 50 guys nationally. No sure when the last time we had that in Arkansas in hoops?

Interested in your thoughts on how they compare/contrast in terms of game

They are both really, really good.

Both highly skilled with Ford being a bigger frame guy and Smith having more length.

Both are tremendous scorers with great athletic ability, but also willing passers.

It appears most recruiting services view Smith as more of a point guard and Ford more of a shooting guard, but I see them both as combo guards that can do both.

By the way, North Little Rock center Kel’el Ware is up to No. 32 in 24/7, which has Smith has 25 and Ford as 52.

It’s hard for me to pick which one is best, something I wouldn’t do anyway because it would be used against Arkansas in recruiting.


Smith: Auburn lean (loves Coach Flanigan)
Ware: Dad loves Baylor
Ford: unsure

While I value your sources and what you hear and appreciate that you bring them to the board, I would say just from talking to those three and those around them, that none of that trio hav made a choice or can be qualified as a lean.

And I feel as if the current Arkansas staff is a positive in terms of landing the six.

Not saying they will get them all, not even saying they will get 2, 3, 4 or 5, just that in no way should fans be negative in terms of Arkansas and the recruitment of the six

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Smith was offered by UNC last week. I think more elite offers are on the way. I don’t know if that changes his love for Wes.

I thought Ford would have been ranked higher than Nick at this time, but for whatever reason, he is not catching more attention.

Ware and Baylor is news to me, but Hogs definitely need to spend more time on Nick.

But then again, it is way early. Plenty of time,

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It’s been a year or so since I’ve seen both in-person. Planned to see them during the spring and summer but we know what happened there.

Nick was filling out last Dec. when I saw him and looks like he’s continued to mature physically. He’s a little longer than Derrian but Derrian is farther along physically but Nick is closing the gap. Both can score going to the basket, midrange and three.

I think anytime you get the blue bloods involved, it makes it more difficult for the home team.

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I doubt that Muss will view the fact that the blue bloods would be involved with these instate recruits as a reason to give up, or to not pursue them hard.

In my mind, if you are of the mindset that we have no chance to get these kids, then don’t get upset when we don’t have a team capable of getting to the Final 4.

We have certainly seen this mindset over the past 20 years. We might say we don’t have it, but recruiting results have shown it.

Of course if you have a kid ranked in the top 25-50 nationally you are going to have blue bloods involved. Why wouldn’t you?

You have a school with a championship banner and Final 4 banners in the gym, with great tradition and facilities. And, we are going to sit idly by and watch Kansas, Kentucky, and others come in and automatically get kids from our state?

Just don’t think Muss has that mindset.

Never said that. Muss won’t back down from anyone.

Wasn’t directed at you Richard. But we have many fans who have had that mindset. Sort of a defeatist attitude. Muss is the opposite of that.

No problem. No biggie if you did.

There are times we sell ourselves short. Over the past 20 years our basketball recruiting has not been at a level that our historical accomplishments have shown were possible. We have seen that change with Muss. My point is that I think we have had some quiver at the thought of us trying to compete with Kansas or UNC or Kentucky. We shouldn’t.

Agree with that.

I don’t hear any of that “quiver at the thought” mindset. You may hear that, but not in the circles I travel. In fact, I hear just the opposite, pleased that Musselman is a dynamic recruiter. I hear moans when they don’t get a top in-state player and then followed by ill will towards that player (a sad thing), but never a belief or a mindset that Arkansas can’t get them.

Not sure why you said that. Over the past 20 years, we have lost Archie Goodwin and Malik Monk to the bluebloods. Pelphrey went hard after Goodwin and I am sure you know how hard Anderson recruited Monk. I expect Muss to do the same.

So far in recruiting of high school kids what Muss has done better is to get on the radar of a volume of 4 stars and 5 stars. But so far the results show that he has signed four instate 4 star guys that blue bloods were not involved in and get a Top 100 recruit from Georgia. That has been done before by previous coaches.

I would like to see Muss land an out of state 5 star or a Top 40 out of state player or an instate player that bluebloods have made a priority.

Let me try this again. Let’s go back to the 90’s. We were signing McDonald’s All Americans. According to Clark Francis, noted recruiting analyst, we had the highest rated recruiting class in the country coming off the 2 great years. We legitimately had a shot at anybody. We came within a sliver of getting Penny Hardaway out of Memphis.

Until Muss, we basically have not had 4 and 5 star caliber players. In many cases, we didn’t even recruit many. Certainly out of staters. In addition, the perception of the program was such that we weren’t on the national stage.

Muss has changed everything with recruiting. But, I sure don’t remember many fans who were confident we could prevent blue bloods from coming in and basically picking the best fruit out of the state from 2000 until Muss.

It wasn’t that our coaches didn’t recruit Goodwin or Monk. But, I , for one, think one of the reasons that helped lead them out of state was their perception there was not a lot of talent around them if they stayed home. With not a great chance of making any serious NCAA run.

I certainly did not have confidence that our program over the last 15-20 years was close to being considered a top 15 or 20 program.

In a short time , Muss has created the perception through his recruiting classes, along with the highly rated kids he is “in” on that we can return to that.

I certainly have more confidence right now that we can land the Moses Moody’s of the world than we did 10 years ago. Thus, my mention of “quivering”.

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4 stars in the last 20 years

Steven Hill
Charles Thomas
Ronnie Brewer
Patrick Beverley
Ky Madden
Hunter Mickleson
Courtney Fortson
Rotnei Clarke
Anton Beard
Ethan Henderson
Daniel Gafford
Jimmy Whitt
Moses Kingsley
Khalil Garland
Darious Hall

5 stars in the last 20 years

Olu Famutini
BJ Young
Bobby Portis

As I said, to turn the perception that Muss has created into reality, he needs to sign a 5 star or an out of state 5 star or win a H2H with a blue blood where that player becomes blue blood’s priority recruit like Goodwin and Monk have become.

So the lack of confidence was you? That makes more sense because I was not hearing that. Derek Hood, Joe Johnson, Bobby Portis, Rotnei Clarke and a few others were considered top recruits.

McD AA’s on our roster, in alphabetical order:
Glendon Alexander. Lasted 1.5 seasons, bailed for Okie State. Complete flop
Willie Cutts. Bailed for ASWho. Complete flop
Todd Day. Panned out okay.
Olu Famutimi. Lasted two years, decent player but not a star, undrafted when he left early.
Derek Hood. Pretty one-dimensional but very good at that one dimension,
Ron Huery. Very useful player
Joe Kleine. Signed with ND, transferred here after one year in South Bend.
Andrew Lang. Again one dimensional.
Lee Mayberry. Yup.
Ricky Norton. Not much beyond a role player, but everybody wanted him.
BP. Certainly wasn’t in the 90s.
Kareem Reid. Too bad he couldn’t play in 95.
Darnell Robinson. Key contributor on the NC, Mr. Irrelevant when he entered the draft.

In-state: Norton, Lang, Portis, Corliss, Cutts. In state 5-stars we lost: I’m not remembering any beyond Business Decision and the Brand, but perhaps there were others.
Memphis: Day, Huery.
Tulsa: Mayberry
Other neighboring states: Alexander (Texas), Kleine and Hood (Missouri).
Outside our area: Famutimi (Canada/Michigan), Robinson (Cali), Reid (NYC).

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For transparency it was not just me. I am a season ticket holder and a contributor. I am also involved with folks from several Razorback clubs. I have heard this for 10 plus years.

Folks have compiled a list of various recruits that we have had. 4 or 5 stars. Perhaps top 50-75 players would be a better description.

In my opinion look at our talent in the 80’s. Especially early and late. Then the 90’s. Then from 2000 to 2020. Maybe everyone else thinks there wasn’t a difference. Many others did as well.

My opinion was that we did not recruit as well over the period from 2000-2020. Our talent level wasn’t as good. It’s not a slam on anyone. We could not string 3-4 high quality players together. Mayberry, Day, Miller and then the championship team. We certainly didn’t have that in the late Nolan, Heath, Pelphrey, and MA era.

Muss has a good start with getting the name out there. If we were truly involved with as many top 100 kids as we are now then I missed it.

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I thought you were talking about in-state kids. I just didn’t hear a give up mentality from the fans I was around for in-state kids. Some got away, for sure. I appreciate the detail in your discussion at the end of the thread. Good stuff.

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