Tennessee guard likes Neighbors

Posted: October 27, 2017 at 2:44 a.m.

Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors is shown during practice Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Fayetteville.

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville women's basketball Coach Mike Neighbors and his program has the attention of one of the top junior prospects in the nation.

Guard Jayla Hemingway, 5-11 of Germantown (Tenn.) Houston has approximately 29 scholarship offers from Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Miami, Clemson, Kansas State, Texas Tech and others.

Her father, Jeff, said the Razorbacks are doing a good job of recruiting his daughter.

"I tell you things are going very well with Arkansas," Hemingway said. "Jayla and I and my family as well are big fans of the staff at Arkansas. Mike Neighbors and Coach Todd Schaefer are personally recruiting my daughter and that's a big deal for her."

Prospectsnation.com rates Hemingway the No. 12 prospect nationally in the 2019 class. She averaged 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals as a sophomore and was a finalist last year for Class AAA Miss Basketball that went to current Tennessee freshman Anastasia Hayes.

She attended an Arkansas camp during the summer. Hemingway planned to visit Fayetteville over the weekend but wasn't able to make it.

"We're going to back and catch a few basketball games," Jeff said. "They play on Thursday and Sundays which is a good thing for us. We're just going to drive over one Saturday night and spend time with the team Saturday and get a chance to watch the game on Sunday."

Jeff Hemingway played basketball at Newberry College in South Carolina while his wife, Nicole, played volleyball at South Carolina before transferring to Newberry where the two met.

Neighbors' style of play is a big attraction to Jayla.

"Style of play, I'm just going to keep saying style of play," Jeff said. "Neighbors' style of play fits the way she likes to play and that is fast."

Goforth very familiar

Fayetteville sophomore guard Sasha Goforth is a frequent visitor to Coach Mike Neighbors' program and Saturday was her latest visit.

She's aware of Neighbors' resume at Washington that includes coaching guard Kelsey Plum, the national player of the year and 2017 WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick.

"I've been going to their practices and talking to him a lot," Goforth said. "I really like him as a coach. He just seems really genuine about his players. He coached the WNBA number one draft pick so obviously he's very smart and knows what he's doing."

Goforth, 6-0, led Fayetteville to the Class 7A state title over North Little Rock with 19 points as a freshman while earning the tournament MVP award. She received scholarship offers from Mississippi State and Texas following the game to go along with one from Arkansas.

She has since accumulated 17 other scholarship offers. Goforth averaged 13.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.1 blocks to earn the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's All-Arkansas Preps Newcomer of the Year.

Prospectsnation.com rates Goforth the No. 12 prospect nationally in the 2020 class. While she's grown up in Arkansas, Goforth said she doesn't feel much pressure to stay in-state.

"My dad went to Texas and Stanford for his masters [degree]," she said. "My family isn't one of those all-out Razorback fans. If they're playing on TV or something we would be cheering, but we're not like all out crazy like, 'Go Hogs'."

Wherever she attends college, Goforth wants to have a good vibe with the coaches and players.

"I want to get along with everybody and I want it to be a nice area to live in," Goforth said.

NLR guard visits

North Little Rock junior guard Kennedy Tucker, who's another key in-state recruit for Razorbacks women's Coach Mike Neighbors, visited the Razorbacks on Saturday

"It was [a] nice experience to be able to see what it's like up there," Tucker said.

Tucker, 5-11 has 10 scholarship offers from the Hogs, Mississippi State, Louisville and others. She averaged 12.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 4.5 assists as a sophomore.

Neighbors' uptempo style of play is to Tucker's liking.

"I like the fast paced style of play," Tucker said. "Just getting the ball and going and doing a lot of transition stuff."

Prospectsnation.com rates Tucker the No. 24 prospect in the nation for the 2019 class. Tucker is debating how far she's willing to go for college.

"I haven't been that far away from home away from my parents, maybe like like six hours," she said.

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 10/27/2017