FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson secured the third piece to his 2014 class when guard Anton Beard signed with the Razorbacks on Thursday.
Beard made his college choice official during a ceremony at North Little Rock High on Thursday afternoon. He joins Forrest City center Trey Thompson (6-foot-9, 245 pounds) and guard Martin (Texas) High guard Nick Babb (6-4, 195) as Razorbacks.
“All three of these young men come from terrific families and we’re happy to welcome them into ours,” Anderson said in a statement Thursday night. “We answered some areas of need with this class and that was to bring in some perimeter players and a guy of size. Each of these guys are instinctive players that possess versatility that is critical to our style of play on the court, but they also fit the makeup of our program off the court.”
Thompson and Babb signed national letters of intent Wednesday, which was the first day of the fall signing period.
Thompson averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists as a junior at Forrest City and is rated as the 30th-best power forward in the 2014 class.
“Trey is someone who we’ve been following for a long time,” Anderson said. “He’s very versatile in how he plays because he has the strength to bang inside, but also has great footwork and the ability to step outside. He has a great set of hands, which is a premium for a big man, the ability to pass the ball and his upside is tremendous. Even better, Trey is another in-state kid who wants to be a Razorback.”
Babb will join the Razorbacks after a successful career in Texas. He averaged 15.3 points and 9.2 rebounds as a junior. His older brother, Chris, played at Iowa State.
“Nick’s game breathes versatility,” Anderson said. “He’s a very athletic 6-foot-5 guard that has the ability to score the basketball, but also run the show. Nick is a high-character kid from a great family, whose best basketball is ahead of him. Our up-tempo style will allow him to showcase his athleticism, not only on offense, but on defense where he can guard a guard and the forward position.”
Scout.com and Rivals.com rank the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Beard as a three-star prospect on a five-star scale after averaging 23.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a junior. Beard, who previously attended Parkview High, also is rated as the 92nd-best player (No. 19 point guard) in the country by ESPN.
“I describe Anton’s game by calling him a warrior,” Anderson said. “He’s got a big heart and plays hard on both ends of the court each and every game. He’s a gritty player. His toughness and heart is something you can’t teach and his basketball IQ has resulted in wins everywhere he’s been. Offensively, he can get to the rim, create for others and he’s just got a great feel for the game. Anton is a great addition and we’re happy to keep one of the top ranked guards in the country in his home state as a Razorback.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau