By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — Long-time 2019 Arkansas target Javon Franklin (6-7 combo forward, Holmes Community College in Mississippi by way of Little Rock Parkview) will be taking his official visit to Arkansas the weekend of March 8-10, and will be in attendance for the Hogs’ home game against Alabama on March 9.
“(Javon’s) got an official visit set up …” Holmes head coach Jason Flanigan said of Franklin’s plans to visit Fayetteville.
Franklin, who’s held his Arkansas offer since early summer 2018, has a list of suitors that includes the Hogs, Memphis, Ole Miss, Auburn, Missouri, and Kansas State with Oregon and Seton Hall joining the mix of late. Franklin is redshirting in 2018-19 after suffering a broken leg in the Holmes’ season-opener that required surgery, so he’ll have three years to play three at the NCAA Division 1 level beginning in ’19-20.
Franklin averaged 10.8 points (on 63.2% FGs), 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 steal in 29 games in 2017-18 as a freshman at Holmes CC. According to MaxPreps, he averaged 16.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.9 assists, and 1.8 steals as a senior at Little Rock Parkview in 2016-17.
Franklin possesses arguably the most explosive leaping ability to come out of Arkansas in some time. He’s relentless and aggressive around the basket, finishing high-percentage shots while proving to be a volume rebounder and a plus-rim-protector at his size.
But watching him play against other D1 and high-major hoopers last summer in Little Rock — yes, it was pickup basketball — Franklin displayed some new wrinkles in his offensive arsenal: improved perimeter handling and shooting out to and beyond the 3-point arc, part of his game that he said coaches told him he needed to improve.
“That’s what I’ve been working on the whole summer — my ball handling, my three-point shot, mid-range, face-up game,” Franklin said back in August.
Updates on 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 prospects
— 2019 Arkansas recruit Mahamadou Diawara (6-10 with 7-3 wingspan, Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia, ESPN 4-star prospect) said that Arkansas associate head coach Melvin Watkins has told him he plans to watch him compete next weekend in the Massanutten Circuit tournament that runs Feb. 9-10.
“Coach Watkins said he’s coming to my tournament,” Diawara confirmed on Friday.
Diawara, who holds offers from Georgia Tech, Penn State, Temple, VCA, Rhode Island, and others, took part in the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp in July and was recently named a nominee for consideration for the 2019 McDonald’s All American game.
He lived briefly in Northwest Arkansas last year and played pickup games with current Razorbacks, including going head-to-head against Arkansas sophomore center Daniel Gafford. He’s a big fan of Arkansas’s coaching staff and the Razorbacks’ basketball program, and has been vocal in saying he’d like to take an official visit to Fayetteville and receive an offer from the Hogs.
In a recent interview, Diawara chimed in to talk about his vision of his impact if he becomes a Razorback.
“Arkansas needs me,” he said. “I will make Arkansas great again, I promise.”
— 2021 Arkansas interest Jalen Ricks (6-5 combo guard with 6-10-plus wingspan, Sylvan Hills) had a double-double — 19 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals — but his team lost, 86-75, in a hard-fought game against Little Rock Parkview on Friday.
Ricks has taken a couple of unofficial visits to Arkansas this season. He holds offers from Oklahoma State and TCU with the Hogs, Indiana, Michigan, Texas A&M, and Auburn showing interest.
“Right now I like Arkansas, TCU, OSU, Michigan, Texas A&M,” Ricks said on Friday. “I pretty much like all the schools that are recruiting me.”
Arkansas is also interested in Ricks’ Sylvan Hills teammate, 2022 combo guard Nick Smith, Jr. who holds offers from Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts.
Smith, who mutually has interest in the Hogs, had 24 points and 6 assists Friday in the Bears’ loss against Parkview.
— 2020 Arkansas offer Chris Moore (6-6 combo forward, West Memphis, composite national 4-star prospect) had a triple-double — 10 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals — in the Blue Devils’ 55-48 road loss at Marion on Friday.
Moore took an official visit to Arkansas in early September and he’s taken numerous unofficial visits there over the past couple of years. His offers include the Hogs, Ole Miss, Auburn, Memphis, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State among others.