Ark. Hoops Challenge on tap this weekend
The Arkansas Amateur Basketball Foundation will host its 4th annual, Arkansas Hoop Challenge Saturday December 15th at Maumelle High School.
The one day event will showcase the top teams, coaches, and players in the State of Arkansas, as this a great year for High School Basketball in Arkansas.
Without the overall tournament, this is your chance to see some of the teams and players that will not compete during the regular season, and let the results decide who starts the season as the number one team in the State.
Last year Sylvan Hills was the 5A State Champion but lost in the Hoop Challenge to 4A state runner-up Pulaski Academy in a great game featuring Kentucky Point Guard Archie Goodwin, and Texas Tech Guard Dusty Hannahs who scored 43 points.
The field of teams this year is great as usual, four of last years participants were eventual state champions. North Little Rock has emerged as the favorite to claim the pre-season number one position by winning the Joe Johnson Jammin for Jackets Tournament Saturday night.
First year Head Coach Johnny Rice has a great backcourt led by 6' 3" guard Kevaughn Allen, one of the top 10 players in America, who scored 27 and 28 points in back to back games at the Jammin for Jackets Tournament, his backcourt team mate Dayshawn Watkins a top 100 player, signed with the University of Alabama Birmingham, and 6' 5" Forward Thomas Alexander has emerged as a definite D1 recruit who will sign April.
Little Rock Hall won its 3rd straight Championship in 7A, but will compete in 6A this year as they attempt to tie the state record for most consecutive state titles at four shared by Little Rock Central and Little Rock Hall. Hall will look to 6' 10" Senior Power forward Bobby Portis to lead them to the 6A finals along with 6' 1" Sr. Javon Perry and 6' 0" Jr. Guard Greg Easter.
Little Rock Parkview claimed the 6A title, it's 12th overall, defeating Jonesboro in one of the best high school games in Arkansas history.
Coach Al Flanigan has his Patriots on track to repeat this year. The Patriots have a trio of guards that execute the pressure defense and can all score, 6' 0" SR. Imara Ready signed with Mississippi State in November, 6 0" JR Anton Beard committed to Missouri, and 6' 1" SO Jaylen Franklin will be highly recruited.
Jonesboro will make a run to earn a return to the finals in 6A, the Hurricane upset 14th nationally ranked Jackson Mississippi Calaway High School Thursday night 44-43. They are led by highly touted point guard 5' 10" JR Kahron Ross, 6' 1" Sophomore guard Marquise Pointer, and 5' 11" Senior guard Tony White. Up front they are expecting 6' 5" Sophomore Aaron Washington to provide help as they try to return to the Rock for the State Finals.
5A pre-season favorite Clarksville won the 4A title last year, and returns the Lee family team, 6' 3" Sr. guard Dederick Lee signed with Oral Roberts, cousin 6' 4" Sr. Devan Simms, and the lighting quick Twin duo of 5' 3' Guards Fredrick, and Kenderick Lee. They have a great match up with North Little Rock at 8:20 pm.
Jacksonville returns 6' 2" Guard Justin McCleary who will sign in April and 6' 6" Forward Keith Charleston will be looking to win the 5A division crown.
Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Shiloh Christian all bring D1 signees, Fayetteville"s 6' 10" Center Tyler McCullough Missouri State, 6' 3" Guard Manuale Watkins will choose from several offers in April, 6' 8" Caleb Waitsman, Colorado School of Mines ,
Bentonville 6' 8" Power Forward Nick Smith, Belmont College, and will benefit from 5' 11" Freshman point guard Tyrik Dixon.
6' 6" Guard Darian Harris from Shiloh Christian signed with Creighton.
Fans will get the to see the top Freshman, Sophomore and Junior's in their respective classes and potential future college players.
The Junior Class includes, along with Beard and Ross, Forrest City Center, 6' 9" Trey Thompson who is ranked in the top 100 by ESPN.
One of the top 15 Freshmen in the country is East Poinsett County guard 6' 3" Malik Monk, the brother of former Razorback Football and basketball star Marcus Monk, and the cousin of Razorback Guard Rashad Madden, Monk is joined in the Back Court by 6' 2" Jammar Sturdivant who has signed with Arkansas State.
All day admission is $10.00 for Adults, $5.00 for Students and children under 5 are no charge, each admission is good for the entire seven games beginning at 12:20 P.M.
All proceeds go to the Arkansas Amateur Basketball Foundation and concession proceeds to the Maumelle High Booster Club.
A schedule of games is listed below:
12:20: Pulaski Academy vs. Shiloh Christian
1:40 F.S. Northside vs. Forrest City
3:00 Maumelle vs. East Poinsett County
4:20 L.R. Hall vs. Bentonville
5:40 Jacksonville vs. Jonesboro
7:00 L.R. Parkview vs. Fayetteville
8:20 North Little Rock vs. Clarksville
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