By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — New Arkansas men’s head basketball coach Eric Musselman on Wednesday reaffirmed the scholarship offer made by the previous coaching staff to 2020 Jaylin Williams (6-10 forward / center, Fort Smith Northside), then on Thursday he did the same by contacting 2020 Chris Moore (6-6 combo forward, West Memphis) and reaffirming his Hog offer.
“I’m very thankful to receive this offer again and I look forward to meeting coach,” said Williams, who averaged a double-double — 18 points and 10 rebounds — for the Grizzlies in 2018-19 leading up to his MVP performance in the 6A state title game when he had 20 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 blocks in Northsides’s 44-41 win over Bryant.
On Sunday, Williams said he was “excited” to learn the news of Musselman being named Head Hog.
“I’m excited to see what he can do for this Akansas program,” Williams said. “Him coaching at the next level (NBA) is a plus because he knows what players need to be successful.”
In addition to Arkansas, Williams holds offers from Oklahoma State, TCU, Tulsa, and Lamar with Auburn, Iowa State, and others showing interest. Williams had previously said he plans to take official visits to Arkansas and Oklahoma State in the near future. He has visited Arkansas unofficially on a number of occasions covering the past two seasons.
Williams is a legitimate 6-10 with a sturdy frame, and he possesses soft hands that catch everything that comes his way. He has plus-ball-skill and plus-court-awareness for a big man as he is able to shoot, attack off the bounce, or assist while facing the basket out on the floor. Williams is also a volume rebounder and shot blocker with emerging back-to-the-basket post skill, using a variety of ball fakes to move defenders and create high-percentage scoring opportunities.
Going head-to-head in November against then-ESPN No. 59 / 4-star prospect Nick Ongenda (6-10 center, Southwest Christian Academy in Little Rock), Williams got the best of that matchup with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal while limiting Ongenda to 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Williams also held his own at the end of July playing with Joe Johnson Hawks 17U as he matched up against 2019 5-star prospect and Duke pledge Vernon Carey, Jr., at the Las Vegas Fab 48 grassroots basketball tournament.
A source close to Moore said Musselman talked Thursday about his recruitment.
“Coach Muss just reached out to us,” the source said. “(He) reaffirmed the offer to Chris and mentioned he will begin with HEAVY recruiting.”
On Sunday, Moore said he was looking forward to meeting Musselman.
“Hopefully soon I’ll get to meet him and get to know him,” Moore said. “Hope to get an opportunity with him like I had with Coach (Mike) Anderson to help me get to the next level.”
In addition to Arkansas, Moore holds offers from Iowa State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Memphis, Oklahoma State, and several other NCAA Division 1 schools. He took his first junior-year official visit to Arkansas the first weekend of September, and he later took an OV to Auburn. He has taken many unofficial visits to Fayetteville, the last coming on March 9 when the Razorbacks defeated Alabama, 82-70, in the regular-season finale at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Moore, who averaged a double-double at West Memphis in each of the past three seasons, is muscled up and runs like a freight train with a non-stop motor. He’s quick, gets end-to-end like a guard, and is explosive around the basket. Moore was the catalyst while leading Woodz Elite 16U to national grassroots basketball titles at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam and Las Vegas Fab 48 — both in July of 2018.
Williams and Moore are currently teammates entering the 2019 the spring/summer grassroots basketball season as they will be playing for Woodz Elite 17U on the Nike EYBL circuit, and over the past weekend they helped guide their team to a 3-0 record at the annual Real Deal in the Rock grassroots hoops event in Little Rock.
Williams and Moore are the fourth and fifth 2020 prospects that Musselman has offered since Monday as the backcourt trio of Little Rock native Moses Moody (6-5 shooting guard, Montverde Academy in Florida, ESPN 5-star prospect) and Hillcrest Hoops (AZ) teammates Kyree Walker (6-5 wing, composite national No. 19 / a 5-star prospect) and Dalen Terry (6-6 point guard, composite national No. 35 / a 4-star prospect) all received offers at the start of the week. For more on the Moody, Walker, and Terry offers plus in-state prospects’ thoughts on the Musselman hire, click the link for my Tuesday recruiting story … https://www.nwahomepage.com/sports/pig-trail-nation/musselman-wastes-no-time-extends-three-hoop-hog-offers-monday-to-highly-regarded-2020-prospects/1913059041
Below are a few brief, and recent, highlight reels of Jaylin Williams and Chris Moore …