The Red Devils will be one of four Arkansas teams playing this weekend as Jacksonville hosts the Hardwood Showcase.
Jacksonville is 5-3 this season after a recent loss to Jonesboro, where according to coach Victor Joyner, they played just about their worst game of the season. The Red Devils’ other two losses came against North Little Rock, one of the top teams in the state. Jacksonville had a lead against the Wildcats in both losses before North Little Rock came from behind.
On Friday and Saturday, Jacksonville may face even tougher tests in the Hardwood Showcase.
Along with El Dorado, Camden Fairview and Little Rock McClellan from Arkansas, the Showcase will also feature Bossier City, La., Chicago Orr Academy, Oklahoma City Putnam West and Trent International. Trent International is a team of players from Europe, Asia and Africa and features 7’0 senior center Ali Mohamed. Mohamed has committed to Rice University.
Jacksonville will be taking on Putnam West Friday night at 8:30, then Chicago Orr Academy at the same time Saturday night.
"This is really a big opportunity for some of our Arkansas kids," said Joyner. "We want to see how our kids measure up against some of the best in the country."
Putnam West features 6-2 point guard Omega Harris, one of Oklahoma’s top ranked players, averaging 20 points per game for his career. Chicago will bring in 6-5 sophomore forward Tyquane Greer. Greer is the top ranked sophomore in the Chicago area, and has been compared to former Chicago area NBA first round picks Antoine Walker and Juwan Howard.
"This is the first time this tournament has been in Arkansas," Joyner said. "We’re going into this no tape on the teams we’re playing, sight unseen. I don’t like not having any idea really about who we’re playing, but we’re all in the same boat. I know this is big time though."
With the kind of talent on display this weekend, scouts and coaches from several colleges are likely to be in attendance.
"I’ve had calls and emails from coaches all of the U.S.," Joyner said. "There are guys playing that are being followed by dozens of schools."