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Article on Heath's recruiting class
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calling_the_hogs Offline
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Heath's busting some hump...gotta be proud of his quick enthusiasm and drive.

From Wholehogsports
<a href="http://www.wholehogsports.com" target="_blank">www.wholehogsports.com</a>

View From the Hill: Heath has high goals for first signing class
INDIANAPOLIS -- The University of Arkansas' new basketball coach is a rising star, fresh off an Elite Eight appearance at the helm of the Kent State program.

His name recognition is as high as it has ever been and he's now at the helm of a school that has not only won a national championship, but been to the Final Four three times since 1990.

He takes over a program that has slipped, but one he feels is nowhere near the "I've fallen and I can't get up" stage yet.

And that's why Razorback basketball Coach Stan Heath, who was one of the first college coaches in the door Monday at the Nike All-America Camp, is intent on making a splash with his first recruiting class.

"I do feel this is probably the most important recruiting class that I will ever have here -- and that's not only because it is right now," Heath said. "But it really has the chance to shape our future."

Heath is very clear about what he wants to do with his four scholarships that he will be able to offer for the upcoming year.

"We've got to go out and get two impact wing players that have the ability to put some numbers on the board and bring an attitude of winning," Heath said. "And secondly, and maybe just as important, is that we are going two-and-two. Two wing guys and two big guys. That is our focus."

Arkansas is not in the market for a point guard, having just signed freshmen Eric Ferguson and Kendrick Davis.

"We have made a conscious decision to not recruit a point guard," Heath said. "It wouldn't be fair to those guys, both of whom we think are super players and ones that we were very lucky to get late."

Heath, who will bounce back and forth between the Nike Camp in Indianapolis and the Adidas one in New Jersey this week, knows he is at a school that has a lot to offer.

"Kids want to be a part of a winning program and they want to have a chance to get to the NCAA Tournament and they want to have a chance to win the national title," Heath said. "I've said before that Arkansas is one of those programs where you have that opportunity and hopefully it seems like some of those guys feel like I can lead Arkansas in that direction again."

Those are seniors-to-be like Fayetteville's Ronnie Brewer, Louisiana's Vakeaton Wafer, Michigan's Olu Famutimi, Houston's Blake Adams, Ndudi Ebi and Tyrone Nelson, Seattle's Rodrick and Lodrick Stewart and Illinois' Collin Falls just to name a few.

If Arkansas gets any of those guys, it no doubt will be in part because of the fact that are working hard during these summer evaluation month.

"Arkansas coaches are every where you turn," Adams said. "They really make you feel wanted and that's going to help them get back to where they want to be."

Evidence of the fact that Arkansas is en vogue again is that the Razorbacks recently hosted four players -- seniors Famutimi and the 6-10 Nelson and juniors Gipson and 6-11 LaMarcus Aldridge -- on unofficial visits.

Gibson brought up one of Arkansas best facets' during Nike's media interview session on Monday afternoon.

"There are no pro teams and no other big schools so all the support goes to Arkansas," Gibson said. "Along with Coach Heath and their great arena, that is a great package."

Heath and his staff will see over 400 players this week while at the Nike and Adidas Camps, evaluating and making the scene to let the players know they are interested even if they are not able to speak with them.

"It's a little bit of both," Heath said. "There are some kids that we have already identified and now we are more or less just being here and letting them know we are very interested. But secondly, it is also a way to add to our list. We might find a few new kids here and there that might fit with our program and we might become involved with."

Heath, who took over at Arkansas in April for long-time head coach Nolan Richardson, finally has his family in a new house and is feeling at home.

"I'm getting to sleep in my bed a few more times than when I first got here and that's a nice feeling."

He is still adapting to his surroundings a bit and is admittedly still miffed about a recent story that asserted his program offered a scholarship to an 11-year-old.

"All they had to do was ask me -- and nobody did," Heath said. "I just don't understand that at all. I'm not offering 11-year-olds, but I am sure looking to find the best players I can that are a little bit older and will get our program to where we want it to be. I feel good about how things are going, but we have got to keep pushing."
07-09-2002 09:21 AM
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