Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson and his staff will attend several spring events this weekend to evaluate prospects in the 2019-21 classes.
The weekend is the first live period in April in which coaches can attend NCAA sanctioned events. Coaches can also evaluate players April 27-29.
The Arkansas coaches will be in Dallas for three shoe circuits, the Adidas Gauntlet, Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and Under Armour Association League.
“(We will be) looking to fill the needs of the upcoming classes and try and identify size - players that fit with what we’re trying to do," Arkansas assistant TJ Cleveland said.
Arkansas will be looking for prospects that have basketball IQ, athleticism, toughness, team-first attitude and a strong desire to win.
“Even though it’s AAU, we still try and identify guys who play to win,” Cleveland said. “AAU sometimes gets a bad rap sometimes with kids just playing games. They know they have a next game coming so a game might not mean that much because they have three more games in a day, but you have some kids that are an exception to that and they go out and try to win every game and play hard every play. You kind of look for those guys.”
Cleveland said the coaches try to avoid players that exhibit a bad attitude and selfish play, but guys with an edge are a good thing.
“You want a guy to have some ego because that’s what makes some guys good,” Cleveland said. “They feel like they’re the best guy on the court, but ultimately they have play to win. That’s one of the main things we look for.”
There are other events being played this weekend in Indiana, Atlanta and Washington D.C.
“Of course, we have to try and fit it all in three days,” Cleveland said. “It’s hard so we have to prioritize. Some people we won’t be able to see this week, but we’ll see next weekend.”
Cleveland estimates coaches will be able to see about 20 prospects over the three-day span. The coaches start planning about a month in advance, but are often at the mercy of tournament schedules.
“Sometimes they might not have the schedules out until a week prior to the event or two weeks prior to the event,” Cleveland said. “You just anticipate where you’re going by making contact with the various AAU coaches and prospects to see which team they’re going to play on. That’s another part of it, you think a prospect will play for one particular team and then you find out he’s changed teams and that changes your plans.”