Recruiting Roundup: Hogs add commit No. 9, big weekend for hoops and more
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Nick Smith Jr. on the Brink of Hogs History
Nick Smith Jr. has become a staple of HawgBeat's recruiting roundup, and he's gone and done maybe the most impressive thing to date.
Thursday, the Naismith Trophy committee announced its five finalists, and the newly-crowned No. 1 point guard in the Rivals150 ranking found himself squarely in the mix.
Also up for the honor of the nation's top high school player are the trio of Duke commits - and players one, two and three in the country - Dariq Whitehead, Kyle Flipowski and Derek Lively, as well as future Baylor Bear Keyonte George.
Not only does Smith have an opportunity to bring home a once-in-a-lifetime honor for himself, but he can do something just one Arkansas has been able to since the award's inception back in 1987.
Central Arkansas Christian High School alumnus Christyn Williams was named the Naismith Prep Women's Player of the Year in 2018, but Smith has the opportunity to become the first Razorback commit to do so as Williams decided to further her career at UConn rather than staying home.
Not only can Smith make history on the court in the coming weeks, but he also added a pretty neat feather in his cap off it as well.
The five-star basketball commit has made quite the impression this season, and it earned him some recognition from North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick in the form of his own day.
Barry Dunning Jr. Goes Nuclear in Playoff Comeback
Nick Smith isn't the only Razorback commit getting it done as the season winds down.
Three-star SF prospect Barry Dunning Jr. went off in McGill Toolen's latest playoff victory, posting 25 points and a staggering 27 rebounds as his team came back from down 15 to walk away on top in overtime.
Dunning, out of Mobile (Ala.), was the second to sign in the class of '22, and despite being the lowest-rated of Eric Musselman's five signees, has made a splash this season, and appears primed to make an impact when he gets to the Hill next fall.
Four-Star Defensive End Flies Like Mike
One of four 2022 signees to remain in school for the back half of their senior season, Maumelle defensive end prospect Nico Davillier made headlines for his work in a different field of play.
The four-star defender dropped in 10 points for his Hornets in Maumelle's 84-69 win over Little Rock Christian, but the real news was this cannonball he tossed down in transition.
Big-Time Texas O-Lineman Honored at Camp
2023 Arkansas offensive line target Connor Stroh was named offensive line MVP of Under Armour's "UA Next" camp last weekend.
The 6-foot-7, 345-pound tackle's performance was enough to expand an already-impressive offer sheet with a pair of northern schools. With Cincinnati and Michigan State joining Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Florida State, Indiana, Kansas, Minnessota, Texas and SMU, the Hogs will have their work cut out for the Frisco-Wakeland Rivals250-four-star.
Though the competition is heating up, Stroh has been to campus twice, with nothing but positive words about the staff from the recent junior day showing that earned him his offer. This is certainly one to keep an eye on at the offensive tackle position.
Arkansas Native Picks Red Raiders
In other '23 news, the Razorbacks struck out with longtime safety target and Arkansas native Brenden Jordan.
Jordan, out of Mansfield (Texas), is rated as a 5.8-four-star, and until this most recent rankings update was listed as a Rivals250 prospect. The Hogs made his top three last week and given his ties to the state the staff had to have been feeling good about their chances.
Unfortunately for new defensive backs coach Dominique Bowman, as well as Jordan's new Mansfield teammate and Hog commit Kaleb James, the Red Raiders were able to seal the deal and jump their way into second place in Rivals' 2023 Team Rankings.
Though Texas Tech won out this go-around, I wouldn't count out Arkansas as a potential flip location later down the road, so stay tuned at HawgBeat for any new information on that front.
2022 Diamond Hogs Commit Scrapes 99
With baseball season getting underway this evening, it's only right to toss in some Diamond Hog recruiting news.
Baylor flip Cole Phillips has his fastball in supersonic range, topping out at just under 100mph in his spring debut.
After a bit of a stall in the momentum of the 2023 class, North Little Rock defensive end Quincy Rhodes broke the dry spell this week with his commitment.
Rhodes, who was initially rated as a 5.8-four-star before dropping down to a 5.7-three-star with the updated Rivals rankings for 2023. After adding an offer from his hometown-Hogs following Junior Days, it took little consideration for the 6-foot-6, 245-pound defender to call the Hogs.
For HawgBeat's full coverage of Rhode's commitment, check out -