Eight to ten players from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith basketball team will be showing their stuff at Jerry Mullens' event in Tulsa, Okla. this weekend. The majority of attention will be focused squarely on Sonny Weems, the third-ranked junior college prospect in the land, according to JucoJunction.
"Sonny is as good as I've ever had," said UA-Fort Smith head coach Jeremy Cox.
Division One recruiters know all about Weems. He already lists known offers from Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, Memphis, UAB, Arkansas, Tennessee and Washington. Unlike many juco players, Cox says he expects Weems to make his decision before his sophomore season.
"I think he needs to sign early. He can't do any better," Cox said. "I think the whole thing would hurt his play more than it would help. He is too good a kid to let up. Good kids need to sign early. I have never seen signing early hurt a kid."
"He's going to play this weekend, get through this evaluation period, then he and his parents will sit down and pick out some schools probably by about October first."
Weems is the star, there's not a single doubt about that in Fort Smith. But as recruiters flock to see the 6-foot-6 swingman, they might notice some more talent on the Lions' roster.
6-foot-10 Renato Paz transferred in to Fort Smith from Dixie State College in Utah this season.
"I think Paz can play anywhere," Cox said. "He is a good athlete, a very good rebounder who can schore. He's a good post player. He's more of a four man, he can face up, can play out to about 17-feet."
The coach said New Mexico State definitely has the upper hand in Paz's recruiting right now. In addition, 6-foot-4 Bruce Carter is coming back off an injury. Cox said Carter is currently being recruiting by Florida Atlantic and St. Bonaventure, but thinks he will merit more attention.
"Bruce Carter is going to be more recognized," Cox said. "I think he is very capable."
Overall, Cox thinks his whole team is more than capable.
"I feel good about it," said the coach. "But then, we usually do in July. Most coaches will love their team in July, like their team in September and then in October, reality will set in. Every summer, it's the best group we've ever had."
Still, Cox feels a lot better than he did last July. He described it as a "scary feeling" when he didn't know if last year's team would be very good. The Lions then went 29-and-4. So it's a little early to start making predictions. But will Weems leading the way, Fort Smith should again be racking up a significant amount of wins.