Razorback Futures: Looking Back Before Ahead on Basketball Recruiting



Even if you followed Arkansas Razorback basketball recruiting closely going back to August 2015, if you blinked you might have missed something.

In this space going forward, we are going to delve into current Razorback recruiting news while looking ahead. But today, we’re going to start with a recent-history lesson — a chronology of Hog recruiting events from August 2015 through September 2016 — not only because of how busy a timeframe it was for Arkansas recruiting, but because of the many moves that very well could mark a resurrgence in Arkansas Razorbacks basketball.

So, let’s digest this lengthy chronology first — oh, what a whirlwind it was — and let it all sink in for perspective before moving on to the present and future of Razorback basketball recruiting in the coming weeks and months.

* Aug. 1, 2015 … 2017 national Top 35 / 4-star recruit Daniel Gafford of El Dorado commits to Arkansas, just a couple of weeks after his offer and a few weeks prior to his junior season of high school.

* Aug. 3, 2015 … Coach Mike Anderson and the Hogs offer 2018 forward Ethan Henderson of Little Rock Parkview.

* Aug. 8, 2015 … 2015 Lorenzo “Doobie” Jenkins re-classifies (was a 2016 prospect) and commits to Arkansas just after his visit and a couple of weeks before the start of classes, becoming the 3rd Hog commit for the Class of 2015 (along with guard Jimmy Whitt and power forward Ted Kapita).

* Aug. 29, 2015 … 2016 juco recruit Arlando Cook takes an unofficial visit to Arkansas.

* Sept. 1, 2015 … 2015 signee Ted Kapita reportedly will sign a contract with a professional team in France, ending any chance of joining the Razorbacks or any other school in 2015-16, according to CBSSports.com‘s Jon Rothstein … reports would surface later in the fall that Kapita had actually signed with the fledgling AmeriLeague, run by former McDonald’s All American and Hog cast-off Glendon Alexander, an ex-con who was going by the alias of Cerruti Brown … after never actually signing any pro contracts, Kapita would land at another prep school — DME Academy — and reclassify for the Class of 2016.

* Sept. 4-6, 2015 … 2016 recruits Cameron McGriff and Jaylen Fisher visit Arkansas … McGriff reportedly intimates off the record he will join the Hogs … Fisher indicates he would take more visits but would commit and sign early somewhere.

* Sept. 18-20, 2015 … 2016 recruit Eric Curry (from Memphis but played at Southwest Christian Academy in Little Rock) visits Arkansas.

* Sept. 19, 2015 … 2016 recruit and Van Buren PF Mitchell Smith, who at one time held a conditional Hog offer, commits to Missouri on the Saturday of his official weekend visit there.

* Sept. 21, 2015 … 2016 recruit Cameron McGriff commits to Oklahoma State.

* Sept. 21, 2015 … 2016 recruit Arlando Cook commits to Nevada amid rumors that the Hogs and other high-major programs may have backed off.

* Sept. 22, 2015 … 2016 Jaylen Barford, considered the No. 1 juco in the country, cancels a planned visit to Louisville and commits to the Hogs (less than a week after his visit to Fayetteville), joining fellow juco guard Daryl Macon and becoming the Hogs’ 2nd commitment for the Class of 2016.

* Sept. 23, 2015 … 2016 recruit Eric Curry commits to Minnesota.

* Oct. 7, 2015 … 2016 recruit Jaylen Fisher commits to UNLV, but ends up not signing in the early period as originally planned.

* Oct. 19, 2015 … 2016 Adrio Bailey commits to the Hogs a little over a week after his official visit, becoming the Hogs’ 3rd commit for the Class of 2016.

* Oct. 23-25, 2015 … this was the weekend that in-state prized 2016 recruit Malik Monk — who had always said he would not sign in the early period — was to visit, along with 2016 Hog commit Daryl Macon, but Monk changed the visit to the following weekend of Oct. 30-Nov.1 citing a conflict with taking the ACT college-entry exam … so, Macon also changed his visit date to coincide with Monk’s.

* Oct. 29, 2015 … 2016 Arlando Cook de-commits from Nevada, and schools like Arkansas, Iowa State and others re-recruit AC with the early signing period just a few weeks away.

* Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2015 … 2016 recruits Malik Monk and Daryl Macon take their official visits to Fayetteville, and Hog great Bobby Portis flies in from Chicago to help make the weekend a special one for Monk.

* Nov. 3, 2015 … 2016 Arlando Cook and his Connors State juco team travel to Little Rock to play Arkansas Baptist College … CMA and Hogs’ assistant coach TJ Cleveland were in attendance, as were coaches from Iowa State and UALR.

* Nov. 5, 2015 … 2016 Arlando Cook commits to the Hogs, becoming the Hogs’ 4th commitment for 2016.

* Nov. 11-13, 2015 … 2016 commits Adrio Bailey, Daryl Macon, Jaylen Barford, and Arlando Cook all sign their NLOI’s with the Hogs in the early period.

* Nov. 18, 2015 … Malik Monk commits/signs with Kentucky at the end of the early period.

* Feb. 7, 2016 … in an unprecedented move for the Hogs, MA offers freshman / Class of 2019 PG Justice Hill of LRChristian / Arkansas Hawks 16U.

* Feb. 14, 2016 … 2019 recruit Justice Hill commits to the Hogs, first time in school history that a recruit committed as a HS freshman … and he was the first member of the Arkansas Hawks’ 16U team to commit to Arkansas … Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

* Feb. 19, 2016 … former 2015 Hog signee Ted Kapita resurfaces and commits to SMU for the Class of 2016.

* Feb. 20, 2016 … 2016 late-bloomer and one-time UT-Chattanooga commit CJ Jones of Birmingham, AL, visits Arkansas.

* Feb. 21, 2016 … 2016 CJ Jones commits to Arkansas, becoming the Hogs’ 5th commitment for the Class of 2016.

* March 1, 2016 … 2017 ESPN Nat’l Top 55 / 4-star recruit and LRParkview guard Khalil Garland commits to the Memphis Tigers.

* March 14, 2016 … Hogs offer 2017 ESPN 4-star recruit Darious Hall of Little Rock Mills.

* March 15, 2016 … 2017 Darious Hall commits to the Hogs, joining Daniel Gafford as 2 early Hog commits for the Class of 2017.

* March 30, 2016 … just 3 days short of being a year to the date that freshman guard Nick Babb transferred, 2015 prized SG Jimmy Whitt announces he is transferring from Arkansas after a disappointing freshman campaign in 2015-16.

* April 11, 2016 … the last of the Hogs’ three 2015 signees, Lorenzo “Doobie” Jenkins, announces he will be transferring from Arkansas.

* April 12, 2016 … the Hogs’ All SEC big man Moses Kingsley declares for the NBA Draft, although he does not hire an agent which left open the possibility of returning to Arkansas for his senior season in 2016-17.

* April 13, 2016 … 2016 CJ Jones signs his NLOI with the Hogs, becoming Arkansas first signee in the 2016 spring period and the 5th signee overall for the Class of 2016.

* April 15, 2016 … MA and Hogs promote former player and current staff member Scotty Thurman to an assistant coaching position, trading places within the program with longtime assistant Matt Zimmerman.

* April 22-29, 2016 … in a one-week span, former 2016 Central Florida commit Brachen Hazen visits both Vanderbilt (April 22) and Arkansas (April 25), then commits to the Hogs (April 26), then signs his NLOI with the Hogs (April 29), marking the Hogs’ 6th and final scholarship signee for the Class of 2016 … BH is Scotty Thurman’s first get as a lead recruiter for the Hogs.

* April 23, 2016 … 2017 recruit Khalil Garland of LRParkview de-commits from Memphis in light of Josh Pastner’s recent move to become HC at Georgia Tech.

* April 28, 2016 … 2016 recruit Jaylen Fisher de-commits from UNLV.

* May 2, 2016 … former Hog Jimmy Whitt announces he is transferring to SMU.

* May 4, 2016 … 2016 recruit Jaylen Fisher commits to new coach Jamie Dixon and TCU, and would sign with TCU on June 3.

* May 9, 2016 … Hog big man Moses Kingsley announces he will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to Arkansas for his senior season in 2016-17 … MK was not invited to the NBA’s pre-draft camp, and he was arguably CMA’s biggest “recruiting win” in 2016.

* May 9, 2016 … 2016 recruit RJ Glasper of Forrest City, AR, announces he will accept a prefferd walk-on offer from the Hogs, and he becomes the Hogs’ 7th and final addition for the Class of 2016.

* May 10, 2016 … former Hog Lorenzo “Doobie” Jenkins announced his transfer to the Colorado State Rams.

* June 8, 2016 … 2017 recruit Khalil Garland takes an unofficial visit to Fayetteville, and both KG and the Hogs feel like the visit went “great.”

* June 14-18, 2016 … the Arkansas HS trio of Daniel Gafford, Ethan Henderson, and Connor Vanover — who all hold Hog offers — attend the prestigious NBPA Top 100 camp in Charlottesville, VA, where Gafford draws praise from several national recruiting analysts.

June 17, 2016 … former 2015 Hog signee Ted Kapita de-commits from SMU’s 2016 class.

June 24, 2016 … former 2015 Hog signee and former 2016 SMU commit Ted Kapita commits and signs his LOI with NCState … whew, that was quite a journey (not including his trip from the Congo to the U.S.).

* June 24-28, 2016 … Arkansas Hawks 16U and 15U teams held a multi-day training camp in Fayetteville as they prepared for the 3 July live periods, and while in Fayetteville, the Hawks visited the new Razorbacks practice facility among other activities.

* July 16, 2016 … 2017 recruit Khalil Garland commits to the Hogs, becoming the 3rd and final early Hog commitment for the Class of 2017.

* July 24-28, 2016 … the Hogs’ Moses Kingsley and a pair of 2017 Hog commits and Arkansans in Daniel Gafford and Khalil Garland take part in the prestigious Nike Basketball Academyin Los Angeles, featuring 60 elite HS players and 20 returning college stars.

* July 29-Aug. 1, 2016 … 2018 Hog recruits Reggie Perry and Ethan Henderson took part in the prestigious Adidas Global Nations event in Anaheim, CA, featuring the top players in the classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019 … both Perry and Henderson drew praise from national recruiting analysts for their play in this event.

* Aug. 2, 2016 … 2018 national Top 125 / 4-star recruit Derek “Isaiah” Joe of Fort Smith Northside / Arkansas Hawks 16U visits, is offered, and commits all on the same day, marking the first Hog commitment for the Class of 2018 and the second commitment by a starter from the Arkansas Hawks 16U team. .

* Aug. 6-16, 2016 … Hogs travel to Spain for a 10-day, 4-game exhibition tour.

* Aug. 17, 2016 … a day after the Hogs return from Spain, 2018 national Top 30 / 4-star recruit Reggie Perry of Thomasville, GA, and the Arkansas Hawks’ 16U team commits to the Hogs, marking the 3rd Hawks 16U starter to commit to the Hogs, and 2nd for the Class of 2018.

Aug. 19, 2016 … 2018 national Top 125 / 4-star recruit Desi Sills of Jonesboro / Arkansas Hawks 16U visited, was offered, and committed all on the same day, marking the 4th Hawks 16U starter to commit to the Hogs, and 3rd for the Class of 2018.

* Sept. 3-5, 2016 … 2018 national Top 60 / 4-star recruit Ethan Henderson of Little Rock Parkview / Arkansas Hawks’ 16U visited and committed to the Hogs all in a 48-hour span, marking the 5th Hawks’ 16U starter to commit to the Hogs, and the 4th for the Class of 2018.

* Nov. 9-11, 2016 … The Hogs trio of early 2017 commitments — Gafford, Hall, and Garland — all signed their letters of intent during the NCAA’s early signing period.

Okay, so let’s review quickly …

* The Hogs lost all 3 of their 2015 signees — Kapita, Whitt, and Jenkins — within an 8-month span.

* The Hogs signed 7 players total for the class of 2016 — 3 of the Top 6 jucos in Barford, Macon, and Cook, 3 freshmen in Bailey, Jones, and Hazen, and a preferred walk-on in Glasper.

* CMA and the Hogs effectively re-recruited Moses Kingsley to return for his senior season and put professional basketball off for another year.

* The Hogs picked up early commitments from three 2017 in-state recruits — all 4-star rated players in Gafford, Garland, and Hall — and signed all 3 during the November early period, leaving one remaining scholarship for 2017 that can be filled in the spring signing period.

* The Hogs picked up 4 early commitments for 2018 and 1 for 2019 — a.k.a the starting 5 for the Arkansas Hawks 16U grassroots basketball team — in Perry, Henderson, Sills, Joe, and Hill. This likely marks the 1st time that the entire starting 5 from an AAU team all pledged to the same high-major program. The 2018 commitments leave Arkansas with 2 more scholarships to give for the 2018 class, or 3 if the Hogs choose not to fill the remaining scholarship for the 2017 class in the spring.

* Counting all 8 of the 2017 signees and ’18 / ’19 commitments, Mike Anderson has stockpiled 8 4-star recruits, 7 of which are rated in at least one recruiting service’s Top 100. All are in-state kids (or have long-time in-state ties in the case of Perry).

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Kevin McPherson is a former sportswriter and editor at both the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Democrat, as well as a former contributor to newspapers in Northwest Arkansas — covering Arkansas Razorbacks basketball, high school football and basketball, and basketball recruiting. He’s entering his 13th year as a mortgage banker with Bank of England, but he still covers Razorback basketball and recruiting as well as high school sports. You can join him live every Monday and Thursday at 1:30 CST on The Hog Call, KREB 1190 The Fan in Northwest Arkansas by clicking here: http://1190thefan.com/listen-live/ You can also follow him live on Twitter @ARHoopScoop.

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