University of Arkansas
basketball coach John Pelphrey was once an outstanding baseball player.
But in a state where the people eat, sleep and drink Kentucky basketball, he was destined to play on the court for the Wildcats and not on the diamond.
Still Pelphrey has a chance here in the spring of 2010 to hit a walk-off homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
That would happen if the Razorbacks – who really need to add another big player to next year's roster - could land Minnesota prep basketball star Kevin Noreen
, who is currently visiting the UA.
Noreen is a 6-10, 225-pound power forward who originally signed with Boston College, but asked for his release after a coaching change.
Ranked as the No. 91 prospect in the 2010 class nationally by Scout.com, Noreen is a skilled big man.
He averaged 38.6 points, 16.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 3.2 blocks per game his senior season while leading Minnesota Transitions Charter to a 30-3 mark and a Class A state title.
He topped 50 points during seven games and over 40 in 14 contests.
"He is probably the most complete player I have ever coached," Minnesota Pump and Run AAU coach Jerry Robertson said. "He is also the hardest-working player – along with Michael Floyd
who is playing football for Notre Dame
– that I have been around.
"He is in the gym all the time working on his game," Robertson said. "He can score down low, he can shoot outside to the 3-point line, he can handle it, he can pass it. He really is a kid that has played the 2,3,4 and 5 for us. He is that skilled."
The one thing that he needs to work on is something that he is doing so with a former college player.
"He has been working with Jim Peterson – a former Minnesota player – on playing more above the rim and adding that to his game," Robertson said.
Like current Razorback and former Oklahoma
prep standout Rotnei Clarke
, Noreen is the leading scorer ever in his state.
He scored 4,086 points in his career, also holds the state's all-time record for rebounds 1,899 and fell just 35 assists shy of setting a state record in that category.
Seems almost too good to be true, especially when you add in the fact that he scored 36 on his ACT and has a 4.0 grade point average.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune's Metro player of the year also has a younger brother in Kyle Noreen
, a 6-6 junior guard.
"His dad Jerry Noreen has always groomed his two boys for this moment – to be able to play college basketball at a high level and attend a great school," Robertson said. "Not only are they great all-around players, but they are great student-athletes and will be a credit to the school they land at."
Noreen, who has over 20 offers, has visited Northwestern
, Oklahoma, and Providence
on either official or unofficial visits.
The end of the spring signing period is next Wednesday, but he does not have to make a decision by that time.
"I'm not sure where he is really going to go, but he does want to go to a place that he could play the first year or at least be ready to really contribute his second season," Robertson said. "He wants to go to a school with great academics and a place that is ready to have success."
In his weekly recruiting column, Dudley E. Dawson sizes up Minnesota prep power forward Kevin Noreen (6-10, 225), who is visiting the University of Arkansas.
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