Jim's Notebook: Likely Future NBA Draft Picks Invade Central Arkansas for 'Real Deal'

by Jim Harris  on Friday, Apr. 27, 2012 2:51 pm  

Another future pro star like Derrick Rose might be in the Little Rock area when the Real Deal in the Rock is staged this weekend.

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

In last year's NBA Draft, 17 players taken in the first round had played as teens in the "Real Deal."

It's likely at one of 43 gymnasiums around Pulaski County, more future NBA lottery picks and future college and pro stars will be showing off their skills in this weekend's Real Deal in the Rock, featuring traveling teams ranging from age 17 on down.

Age divisions extend begin at 9, but it's the 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds who will have the attention of an impressive list of college basketball coaches expected to attend. The coaches this year have the OK from the NCAA to attend April amateur basketball tournaments for scouting purposes after a couple years' hiatus.

If you're into coach stargazing, the place to be is P.A.R.K. (Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids), Keith Jackson's athletic and academic facility on Geyer Springs Road, just north of Interstate 30 in Little Rock. The top teams and top games from the upper age groups will be staged there. The college coaches are required to be cordoned off from the general public and the players during the tournament.

A $10 ticket on Friday and Sunday and a $15 ticket on Saturday entitles the ticketholder to games at any of the 44 gyms around the state. A list of gymnasiums is available by clicking here.

Real Deal director Billy Ingram said he's had requests from such coaches as Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Kansas' Bill Self, North Carolina's Roy Williams, Kentucky's John Calipari and, of course, Arkansas Razorback Coach Mike Anderson. And that's along with the national basketball recruiting writers who have secured credentials to follow the top stars this weekend.

They'll be following the exploits of such teams as the Atlanta Celtics, Team Philly from Philadelphia, the Derrick Rose All-Stars out of Chicago, Memphis Magic Elite, DC Assault from Washington, ABCD Select from Dallas, and Wisconsin Playground All-Stars from Milwaukee. The national amateur organization 5-Star Basketball is affiliated with the Real Deal.

Arkansas will be represented in the top division by the Arkansas Hawks, featuring Little Rock Parkview guard I.J. Ready, as well as the Nolan Richardson Mustangs, led by Razorback commitment Dederick Lee from Clarksville. The Mustangs are made up of players from throughout Northwest Arkansas.

The action tips off Friday at 5:30 p.m. at various gyms and continues all day Saturday with pool play. The championship rounds are Sunday afternoon.

And, in case you'd like to stump friends with just who were those former "Real Alumni" in last year's NBA Draft opening round, they were: Tristan Thompson (taken 4th by the Cleveland Cavaliers), Brandon Knight (8th, Detroit Pistons), Kemba Walker (9th, Charlotte Bobcats), Jimmer Fredette (10th, Milwaukee Bucks), Klay Thompson (11th, Golden State Warriors), Alec Burks (12th, Utah Jazz), Markieff Morris (13th, Phoenix Suns), Kawhi Leonard (15th, Indiana Pacers), Iman Shumpert (17th, New York Knicks), Chris Singleton (18th, Washington Wizards), Nolan Smith (21st, Portland Trailblazers), Reggie Jackson (24th, Oklahoma City Thunder), Marshon Brooks (25th, Boston Celtics), Jordan Hamilton (26th, Dallas Mavericks), JaJuan Johnson (27th, New Jersey Nets), Norris Cole (28th, Chicago Bulls), and Cory Joseph (29th, San Antonio Spurs).

You could field a pretty strong NBA team now with such other "Real Deal" alumni over the years as Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Demarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose, just to name five.

RANKED TEAMS: If one goes by the Five-Star Basketball rankings, the Real Deal has attracted eight nationally ranked travel teams in the 17-and-Under and 16-and-Under divisions, though with the number of teams being assembled at various times, the rankings are easily up for debate. For example, the Atlanta Celtics aren't ranked in the 17-and-under Top 25 but generally put together a powerhouse every year.



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