Seldom does an Arkansas high school feature two prospects worthy of being the No. 1 player in two different classes, but Little Rock Central and Little Rock Christian may just have that.
The Tigers feature touted freshman guard Annor Boateng and sophomore guard Bryson Warren, while the Warriors have junior forward Creed Williamson and sophomore guard Layden Blocker.
Boateng, 6-5, 195 pounds, was named the MVP of the Black squad of the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game at the recent Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph camp in Texas that featured 219 athletes from 13 states. He received a scholarship offer from Arkansas shortly after the camp.
"You just have a grown man in a 14-year old body," Little Rock Central Coach Brian Ross said. "There's not many kids that's as gifted athletically as he is."
Warren, 6-2, 160, was the first freshman to start the opening game of the season for North Little Rock Coach Johnny Rice last year before transferring to Central after the season.
He has offers from the University of Arkansas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and others. Warren was named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas Preps Underclassman team.
"To do as well as he did in our league last year as a freshman was pretty unbelievable," Ross said. "He was the top player on the number one team."
Williamson, 6-8, 225, has offers from Arkansas, St. John's, Oral Roberts and the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He's the son of former Razorbacks great Corliss Williamson.
He's one of six in-state juniors with offers from the Razorbacks but has yet to be rated by the major recruiting services.
"Creed can shoot the three and take you off the dribble," Little Rock Christian Coach Clarence Finley said. "He's more athletic than Corliss was. He can jump higher than Corliss, and he can shoot the ball better than Corliss, but he isn't as tough as Corliss right now, but he's just as strong."
Blocker, 6-2, 160, has offers from Arkansas, Auburn, St. John's, TCU, Southern Miss, Tulane and others. He also was named to the Cream of the Crop Top 30 game at the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph camp.
"Layden is going to another level because he's gotten a little stronger he's not only finishing well but he's finishing strong he can attack the basketball" Finley said. "He can shoot the three in transition. He can get to the rack and finish."
Boateng, Williamson and Blocker are expected to play for the Joe Johnson Arkansas Hawks in the spring.
Over the past 40 years or so, there have been several teammate duos capable of being the No. 1 prospect in the state. North Little Rock's Anton Beard and KeVaughn Allen appear to be the only pair to be named the top prospect in the state during the recruiting service era. ESPN rated Beard the No. 1 senior recruit in the state in 2014, while Allen was the top prospect following year.
"Anton was by far the toughest kid I've coached and he brought it everyday on the practice floor and the game," Charging Wildcats Coach Johnny Rice said. "KeVaughn was an unreal athlete and great player but the most coachable."
There have been several others that have came close to being named the top prospects in the state as seniors.
Arkansas freshman Jaylin Williams was a sophomore at Fort Smith Northside, while former Hogd guard Isaiah Joe was a senior. Williams was rated No. 1 prospect in the state as a senior by 247 while Joe was rated No. 2 by 247 and ESPN as a senior.
Two former Razorbacks and West Memphis teammates Jason Henry and Sonny Weems were an impressive pair for the Blue Devils but neither appear to have had an in-state ranking by a major recruiting service.
Henry was a sophomore, while Weems was a senior for West Memphis' 2004 state title team.
Before recruiting services were in place by the early 2000's, there were other teammates that would've likely been recognized as the state's top prospect their senior years. Most notably West Memphis big men Michael Cage and Keith Lee.
Cage was a senior, while Lee was a junior when the pair led West Memphis to the overall state title in 1979-80 with a 30-0 record. Both had excellent college careers at San Diego State and Memphis State before going to the NBA.
Former West Memphis Coach Larry Bray started to work for the district in 1974 as the coach for East junior high until his first year as an assistant on the 1979-80 state title team. He was the head coach from 1984-2017.
"Cage was very coachable just did what we asked him on the floor Main thing was rebounding and playing around the basket," said Bray, who now lives in Florida. "He [Lee] could play bring the ball up the floor. I think he was a little bit ahead of his time Everybody tried to make a center out of him. I think if he played out on the floor I think he would've had a better NBA career."
Little Rock Parkview's Wes Flanigan was the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year in 1993, while Quincy Lewis was sophomore standout.
"Wes ended up going to Auburn and making All-SEC and Quincy ended up going to the Big Ten and Minnesota and making All-Big 10 and then being the 17th pick of the [NBA] Draft," said Joe Johnson Arkansas Hawks founder Bill Ingram said.
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