Well, how con-veeeeenient. Seriously, I know this happens. As Warrior said above, I'd assume there were several advantages of being in (playing in) Bentonville. Bigger school, which means more notable. Yeah, better competition.
So, the proximity to the U of A was just incidental? They could just as well have moved to one of the bigger Little Rock schools?
The move has always been highly dubious.
At the time, I just assumed there was a 'master plan' that Malik would play H.S. at a bigger school, then matriculate 30 miles down the road to the UA. It all seemed like a setup deal to me.
Of course, this implies impropriety. Which is quite possible, but it doesn't necessarily mean that. I mean, it's also dubious to hire a guy as an assistant coach just because you have an interest in a kid. (see..Kansas hiring Ed Manning, Danny Manning's father)
It's not illegal, it's just sneaky. So both are possible: illegalities or just 'favors'.
It all may have been a setup deal and 'master plan', indeed, but then plans may have changed, too. That's possible.
If you're just looking to move to a bigger town, from Lepanto, then Memphis and Little Rock would be much more likely. So that doesn't make sense.
Not to mention that, let's be honest, Bentonville is not a hotbed for the black community.
Not to mention, Bentonville has virtually zero basketball tradition. Heck, Fayettevile H.S is the place to be for that. Bentonville makes zero sense.
I know people like to dump on Marcus, but at the end of the day, I still say it was Malik's decision ultimately to go to UK. You can't tell me an 18-year 'superstar' is going to let their uncle, mom, brother, or cousin VETO what they want to do and basically force them to do something they don't really want to do. It's Malik's life, his career, and his decision. I think he does have a little bit of punk and 'big-head' attitude and thought he had outgrown Arkansas and wanted blue-er pastures.
And I'm still waiting for some media type to interview Marcus. Why don't they just ask him questions? Be polite, but just interview him. Ask him for his comment. I do agree it's sad, because Marcus had a great career as a WR here. He's one of those guys that would be in the Razorback Sports Hall of Fame at some point. I would want to give him an opportunity, and if him, I would be seeking an opportunity to clear the air. If he's guilty as charged, then so be it, but I want to hear him talk. You don't have to attack the guy, but just questions like 'Marcus, some are saying you had a hand in steering your brother to Kentucky---how would you respond to that?' and 'Marcus, some would say your brother's decision to go to Kentucky was made long ago, but you and others were trying to make it appear the UA still had a chance and you were trying to promote high school tournaments to come see your brother play as perhaps a future Hog---how would you respond to people like that?'
I don't know why this couldn't be a story or article in Hawgs Illustrated or WholeHogSports, etc.