Today marked the first day of college basketball’s early signing period, and no other program in the country experienced an afternoon quite as good as the Arkansas Razorbacks out of the SEC.
Razorbacks Coach John Pelphrey and his staff inked four highly rated commits—B.J. Young, Aaron Ross, Hunter Mickelson and Devonta Abron—to national letters of intent today.
The group has the makings of a special class, one that could alter the future for the program and carry Arkansas to the top of the SEC rather quickly.
Arkansas’ lack of recent success, including consecutive 14 win seasons over the last two years, obviously didn’t affect their recruiting efforts. By signing Young and Mickelson, they picked up two players who are widely considered to be among the best in the nation at their respective positions.
The foursome, which will likely become a fivesome once highly touted shooting guard Rashad Madden signs on the dotted line, already looks like it will turn to be one of the country’s top rated 2011 recruiting classes.
There’s no doubt that each of the signees will bring something special to the table and Coach Pelphrey, now entering his fourth season at the helm in Fayetteville, should be ecstatic about the type of talent he’s bringing in for the future.
The true standout of the class is B.J. Young, a 6‘3" point guard out of McCluer North High School in Missouri. Young, rated as a five-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout, is a superior athletic specimen, considered one of the few elite guard prospects in the country.
Young is a far from a proven commodity on the court, and his difficulty with transfers and academics have been well documented, but he turned out to be one of the hottest risers on this year’s AAU summer circuit. The guard saw his stock soar through the roof after big showings at the Hensley Memorial Run’N Slam Tournament and the NBPA Camp.
Pelphrey and Arkansas got on him early, and Young committed to the Razorbacks in early September after he made an official visit to the school.
Young may have been Pelphrey’s top target but he knew other players like forwards Hunter Mickelson and Aaron Ross were vital to the class as well.
At 6‘10", Mickelson, who averaged 22 rebounds, 15 points and eight rebounds for Arkansas’ Westside High School as a junior, has the size to do some real damage inside. The power forward, rated as a four-star recruit by both Scout and Rivals, should bring a valued shot blocking presence to the Razorbacks frontcourt.
Ross, whose been committed to the school since his freshman season back in 2008, is another valuable addition. The 6‘6" small forward out of Little Rock’s Pulaski Academy is continually developing his all around game and could turn out to be a strong contributor on the offensive end.
Devonta Abron, a 6‘7" forward out of Texas, may be the least heralded of the group, rated as just a three-star prospect by Scout and Rivals. But his ability and potential are both well documented. The Seagoville High School star averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds as a junior last season.
The fifth member of the group, Rashad Madden, a four-star shooting guard out of East Poinsett County in Arkansas, has until November 17th to sign, and all indications point to him getting his letter wrapped up on Friday.
Once Madden hops on board, Coach Pelphrey will have a class that may lack the true star power of a Kentucky or a Duke but is just as deep and talented as any other in the nation.
Arkansas has the makings of an average SEC team this season, but many fans are surely excited about what the future holds for 2011-2012 and beyond.
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