By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Razorbacks offered a scholarship to California prep star Ramel Lloyd, Jr., back in the spring, and now entering the final month of 2020 the Hogs’ coaching staff continues to make him a recruiting priority.
The latest step in the courtship was a virtual meeting between Lloyd (6-6 combo guard, Rancho Christian in Temecula, Calif., composite national No. 60 / 4-star prospect) and Arkansas coaches on Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 1).
“The zoom went great,” Lloyd said. “They were just showing me how I would be utilized in their system and how it could be beneficial. I liked where they see me in the offense and how they viewed my role potentially coming in.”
Lloyd said he’s not nearing a decision.
“Not really close to committing,” Lloyd said while adding that his 2020-21 high school season has yet to get underway. “Haven’t played any games yet.”
Lloyd said he’ll name a top 10 list of schools “most likely in the coming months.”
Lloyd anounced his Arkansas offer via Twitter in late April, an offer made personally by Razorbacks head coach Eric Musselman.
“The offer was great,” Lloyd said at the time, confessing that he liked the conference the Razorbacks play in and the idea of playing for Musselman. “The SEC is a great conference and Coach Musselman is a great coach that I feel I could learn a lot from. Coach told me about how (Fayetteville is) a big time college town and how great the fans are.”
Lloyd said Musselman told him why he was an ideal fit in a system that values positionless basketball.
“Big skilled guard that can play multiple positions and is a versatile player,” Lloyd recalled.
Lloyd also holds offers from Kansas, Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Southern Cal, LSU, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma State, TCU, Illinois, Nebraska, Rutgers, Ole Miss, St. John’s, DePaul, Georgetown, San Diego State, Dayton, UNLV, UMass, Fresno State, and Manhattan.
* As long as there are transfers in the portal expect Arkansas coaches to, at minimum, jump in and test the waters. The latest is Tennessee-Martin senior graduate-transfer Parker Stewart, who began his career at Pitt of the ACC. According to multiple media reports, Stewart (6-5 guard, native of Union City, Tenn.) entered the portal on Monday and has already heard from the Hogs, Kansas State, Indiana, Cincinnati, Nebraska, Memphis, Ole Miss, Washington State, Houston, Oklahoma State, and North Carolina State. Stewart started 23 of 25 games for TN-Martin as a junior in ’19-20 and averaged 19.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 41.2% from the field, including 71-of-204 from 3 for 34.8%, and 76.6% from the free throw line.
College basketball analyst Jeff Goodman on Tuesday reported that Stewart “plans on cutting his list to 3 or 4 soon.” Stewart potentially could be eligible to play in spring-semester games that begin this month. Arkansas will be maxed out at 13 scholarships once Little Rock Trojans junior-transfer Kamani Johnson arrives later this month for the spring semester, which means the Hogs will not have an additional available scholarship barring a current scholarship player departing.
* One of the big, early-season tilts in Arkansas high school basketball will take place Friday when 2022 Arkansas targets Nick Smith, Jr. of Sylvan Hills and Joseph Pinion of Morrilton meet up in a non-conference matchup. It’s early, but Smith (6-4 combo guard, 247Sports.com’s national No. 25 / 4-star prospect) and Hog commit Pinion (6-6 wing, composite national No. 105 / 4-star prospect) have already put up impressive numbers in the first few games of ’20-21. Smith is averaging 27.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game, while Pinion is averaging 21.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 1.5 blocks.
* Two more 2022 Arkansas offers have started the ’20-21 season off well. As we reported last week, Kel’el Ware (6-11 forward / center, North Little Rock, 247Sports.com’s national No. 32 / 4-star prospect) had 16 points (7-of-9 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws), 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks in his debut in a North Little Rock win over Little Rock Parkview on Nov. 21, and Creed Williamson (6-8 forward, Little Rock Christian Academy) is averaging 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds to help the Warriors to a 2-0 record.