Hogs Add Jordan Phillips To ’18 Hoops Class


Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson continued to stockpile his perimeter arsenal with size, length, athleticism, and versatility on Sunday, adding his 5th commitment to the 2018 hoops class with skilled and sturdy 6-6 wing Jordan Phillips of Arlington, Texas.

“I will be committing to the University of Arkansas,” Phillips told me on Sunday, October 1, a week prior to him formally pledging to the Hogs via Twitter. “I appreciate all the love (Hog fans) have been showing me. Woo Pig!”

For a program that has operated mostly with a corps of 6-3-and-under guards and wings during the last few years, Phillips becomes the latest addition in Anderson’s personnel shift to balance the backcourt with big, versatile players and create perimeter-matchup advantages for the SEC’s second-winningest program over the past three seasons. 

Phillips can help as a small forward, shooting guard, and even as a ball-handler up the floor in pinch-relief of the point guards. At 6-6 and 215 pounds, he brings a combination of athleticism, size/physicality, and perimeter skill that proves valuable in various match-up scenarios.  As a halfcourt slasher, he has the handles to drive from the top of the key (or wing) all the way to the basket, plus the athleticism and strong frame to finish through contact once he arrives in the land of the bigs. Using those same gifts, he’s formidable in transition because he can overwhelm and finish through or above smaller guards. Throw in capable mid-range and 3-point shooting, and Phillips flashes offensive ability at all three levels.

That same combo of athleticism and size/physicality will help defensively, too, especially with challenging and closing out on shooters, walling off drives, trapping, and playing at the top of the press.

Phillips has the potential to be (as the kids like to say) a “positionless” baller.

“They (Hog coaches) showed me a vision that I could look forward to, a system that I could see myselfjordan phillips with Nolan Richardson playing in,” Jordan Phillips explained. “My relationship with Coach Anderson, and all the coaches, has been great. I’ll come in knowing that I can have an impact.”

Counting Phillips, Arkansas has now brought in five perimeter players 6-4 or taller in its last three classes: Hog sophomore C.J. Jones (6-5 bouncy shooting guard / wing) in 2016; Hog freshmen Khalil Garland (6-5 combo guard who is an exceptional open-court finisher and can help at all three backcourt spots) and Darious Hall (athletic, long, and strong 6-6 small forward / wing with guard skills) in 2017; and 2018 Hog commit Isaiah Joe (6-4 shooting guard / wing with length, underrated athleticism, and efficient NBA 3-point range, and oh-by-the-way he’ll add point-guard duties this season as a senior at Fort Smith Northside).

You have to go back to the 1989-90 Final Four season (during Nolan Richardson’s torrid 40 Minutes of Hell run) to find an Arkansas roster stocked with so many big, long, athletic, and versatile ballers who could do damage on the perimeter and in transition — 6-7 Todd Day, 6-6 Ron Huery, 6-4 Lenzie Howell, 6-5 Darrell Hawkins, and 6-5 Warren Linn.

Phillips plans to ink with the Hogs during the early signing period that begins Wednesday, November 8. He chose Arkansas over offers from Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Arizona State, TCU, SMU, Fresno State, and others. He took three official visits — Fresno State in early September, Arkansas the weekend of September 15-17, and Georgetown the weekend of September 22-24 — but he named Arkansas his leader before ever stepping foot in Fayetteville.

Upon returning from Georgetown three weeks ago, Phillips cancelled his visit to Virginia Tech that was scheduled for the weekend of September 29-October 1. He knew he was close to wrapping things up with a decision, which was practically all but sealed when he was in Arkansas.

“It was all love,” Phillips said of that mid-September visit to Fayetteville. “I just loved the atmosphere. It was a long process, but I’m happy to be going to Arkansas.”

Phillips — who averaged 23.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 3.0 steals during summer grassroots play for Dallas Showtyme — embarks soon on his high-school senior season at Grace Prep Academy in Arlington, TX. He’s No. 168 in 247Sports.com‘s composite national 2018 prospect rankings, which is an aggregate of the four major recruiting services (ESPN, Scout, Rivals, and 247Sports). That ranking is lofty for a player who did not compete on any of the three major spring / summer grassroots circuits run by Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.

Phillips is Arkansas’s second out-of-state commitment so far in the 2018 class, joining 6-3 combo guard Keyshawn Embery of IMG Academy (FL) by way of Oklahoma City, OK, who committed to Arkansas on September 16. The Razorbacks already held commitments from three in-state players — the afore-mentioned Joe, 6-8 power forward Ethan Henderson of Little Rock Parkview, and 6-2 combo guard Desi Sills of Jonesboro — who all called the Hogs over a year ago. 

Just prior to Phillips’ pledge, Arkansas’s 2018 committed class was ranked No. 11 nationally by 247Sports.com, and 18th in the composite national rankings. Based on expected roster personnel for the 2018-19 season, the Hogs still have one more scholarship to give to round out their 2018 class.

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