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story.lead_photo.caption Parkview's Ethan Henderson goes for a dunk during the first period of a game against Maumelle on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Maumelle. - Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun

The fifth annual Battle of the Border will showcase two future Arkansas Razorbacks and several others drawing interest from the Hogs during the two-day event in Little Rock that pits teams from the capital city against squads from Memphis.

Three games will be played tonight at Little Rock Parkview, while six games will be played at Little Rock Hall on Saturday.

Battle of the Border chairman Bill Ingram said the quality of basketball in the state is on par with bigger cites in the region.

"We feel like we're as good as any of these cities here in the South as far as for high school basketball," Ingram said."It's no big deal to beat a team from Memphis or a team from Dallas. Years ago that use to be a big deal. That's all kind of changed now. We expect to win those games and they understand that now and they're taking us a lot more serious."

Little Rock Christian and 2019 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville point guard commitment Justice Hill, 5-10, 160 pounds, will play Westwood of Memphis at 5:30 p.m. at Parkview, while Southwest Christian Academy of Little Rock tips off at 7 p.m. against Faith Preparatory Warriors of West Memphis.

Hill played football for the Warriors this season and is getting back into basketball shape.

"Everyone is anxious to see him play because he's played in a couple of games, but not on a big stage like this," Ingram said. "People are excited to see how he responds from playing football."

Southwest Christian features Southern Miss forward signee Nikola Jerotic, 6-6, 207, along with several other major college prospects, including senior guards Jahbril Price-Noel, 6-7, 203, Shakur Daniel, 6-5, 181, Malik Kennedy, 6-5, 177, along with senior power forward Ivan Hadzic, 6-9, 237, forward Simeon Jovic, 6-9, 207, and junior forward Tim Ceaser, 6-8, 187.

Price-Noel is drawing interest from Arkansas, Houston, Middle Tennessee State, while Daniel has the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Iowa State, Valparaiso and Middle Tennessee State. Kennedy is receiving interest from Northern Arizona and East Tennessee State, while Hadzic has Wyoming and UTEP interested in his services and Jovic is drawing interest from Old Dominion and UTEP.

Arkansas, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Baylor and others are eyeing Ceaser.

Little Rock Parkview and Hog forward signee Ethan Henderson, 6-9, 190, and UALR forward commitment and Patriot junior forward Airion Simmons, 6-4, 200, along with junior point guard Allen Flanigan, 6-5, 175, willplay Memphis Raleigh-Egypt and senior forward Jadakiss Williams, 6-7, 200 and guard Devonta Williams, 6-4, 210 at 8:15. Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Missouri and Murray State are reportedly showing interest in both Williams.

Episcopal Collegiate and Power Center Academy of Memphis tips off at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Hall's gymnasium followed by Baptist Prep and Memphis Melrose at 2:30.

Junior Baptist Prep guard Issac McBride, 6-1, 185. has a scholarship offers from Arkansas- Little Rock, Abilene Christian and Arkansas State along with interest from Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, Kansas State. He recently scored a school record 46 points in a 73-63 victory over Ensworth, Tenn..

Justice Hill and Little Rock Christian will play Memphis Mitchell at 4 p.m., while Little Rock Mills and Du Bois School of Arts and Technology of Memphis tip off at 5:30.

Ingram said most basketball fans are aware of future Hogs, Hill and Henderson, but believes there are several others that are on the verge of making names for themselves.

"We have so many kids now," Ingram said. "Of course, we have the ones we read about everyday and now you see guys like Issac McBride, Tim Ceasers, Airion Simmons, Allen Flanigan and Branton McCrary."

"These guys are going to start making their mark on being legitimate Division I basketball players."

Little Rock Hall and junior point guard Jonathan Coleman, 5-10, 180, will play Memphis Raleigh-Egypt at 7 p.m. Henderson and Parkview will close out the night against Memphis Hamilton at 8:30 pm.

Commitments lost

Arkansas has lost three football commitments since the announcement that Bret Bielema would not be retained as the Hogs' head coach.

Quarterback Ty Evans, 6-2, 185 pounds, of Monument (Colo.) Palmer Ridge reopened his recruitment on Sunday after being committed to the Razorbacks since the summer. He was the Hogs' only 2019 commit.

Cornerback Byron Hanspard announced Wednesday night on Twitter that he was reopening his recruiting.

Hanspard, 6-1, 188, 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, of DeSoto, Texas, chose the Hogs over scholarship offers from schools such as Oregon, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Colorado, Mississippi State and Texas Tech in the spring. He and Evans said they're open to talking to the new head coach and his staff.

Defensive back Tanner McCalister, who committed to Arkansas in June, reopened his recruitment on Thursday.

McCalister, 6-0, 185, of Rockwall-Heath (Texas), picked the Hogs over scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Missouri, Virginia, Oklahoma State, TCU and Washington State, but is now looking to visit other schools.

He plans to officially visit Oklahoma State on Dec. 15.

"I will likely schedule one to Kansas or Indiana," he said.

The Hogs now have 10 commitments for the 2018 class. The early signing period is Dec. 20-22 and the second signing day is Feb. 7.

E-mail Richard Davenport at


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Sports on 12/01/2017

Print Headline: Busy couple of days for Battle of the Border


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