Pigs soar in 2022 class rankings

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With the addition of ESPN’s 5-star Jordan Walsh, University of Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman and his team have the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class for 2022, behind Duke.

Walsh, 6-7, 200 pounds, of Branson Link Academy, announced his decision on Instagram to be a Razorback on Texas, Kansas, TCU, Arizona State, Oklahoma and more during a ceremony Thursday in Irving, Texas, with ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi.

“It’s an incredible effort on the part of Muss and the staff, because every time you have to recruit a top candidate in the county it takes time and sometimes almost takes you away from your personal life,” Biancardi said. . “That’s how consuming it can be. It’s impressive how they landed Jordan Walsh because he had a choice anywhere in the country.”

ESPN also ranks Walsh second among small forwards and seventh in the country. He played his junior season at Oak Cliff (Texas) Faith and Family before transferring to Link Academy for his senior season.

Walsh’s engagement gives the Hogs two 5-star leads for the first time since recruiting services began. ESPN’s 5-star goalie and No.6 overall prospect Nick Smith Jr. signed up for Arkansas on September 29.

During Walsh’s official visit to Arkansas in June, he walked into a conference room at the practice center and saw Musselman’s plan for him when he arrived on campus and left written on a whiteboard of 5 by 15.

“He put a very detailed plan on a dry erase board and he talked about it from day one to day last,” Biancardi said. “I think the fan base really turned him on. I think those two things convinced him.”

The Arkansas recruiting class also has commitments from 4-Star ESPN and Top 100 Prospects Joseph Pinion of Morrilton, Derrian Ford of Magnolia and Barry Dunning of Mobile, Alabama McGill-Toolen Catholic.

“If this group can come up with a good, healthy ego and a great work ethic, I think it could be really special next year in Arkansas,” Biancardi said.

Musselman and his team entered ESPN’s # 5 recruiting class in 2020 with four of the top 100 4-star prospects.

“Every time you get the top 100 players, you work really hard,” Biancardi said. “You have a good recruiting plan, you have a strong evaluation among your staff because you have to know who to talk to. Not all 5 star guys are the same. Jordan Walsh is cut in a different fabric. He is aggressive. , he’s hard working, he’s an everyday guy with talent and it’s hard to find that combination. With him it’s easy to get excited and it’s the same with Nick Smith. “

Biancardi believes Musselman’s social media presence and ability to connect with prospects is not the norm for NBA coaches.

“He’s really embraced recruiting, and a lot of guys who come from the NBA don’t like to recruit,” Biancardi said. “He knows what it takes to win outside of practice and film and all the preparation for screening which is essential, but none of it means nothing without it [recruiting]. “

Arkansas joined Duke as the only other school with several members of ESPN’s Top 10 prospects engaged. Duke have three top 10 commitments, while Kentucky, Baylor, UCLA and Alabama each have one. The Razorbacks are also up for 4-star ESPN Anthony Black, the No. 26 rookie in the 2022 class.

“His work ethic has always been like that, so now he takes that work ethic and he applies it to recruiting and it’s the dividends,” Biancardi said of Musselman.

After announcing his commitment to the Hogs with Biancardi, Walsh, who has a 41-inch vertical and 7-foot-3 wingspan, said he was thrilled to be playing with Smith.

“As Jordan Walsh said, it will be a dangerous tandem in Arkansas with him and Nick Smith,” Biancardi said.

Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]


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