"He actually played for my AAU team, the Arkansas Wings
. He's a crazy, top-tier athlete.
On Friday, April 16, they'll be on display for central Arkansas fans and a statewide television audience when they and their Arkansas Wings teammates take on Team Final from the Philadelphia area to kick off the Real Deal in the Rock.
Wait, Ron Crawford's Arkansas Wings program is playing in the Real Deal, organized by summer ball competitor Billy Ingram?
In the weeks leading up to the Old School AAU Southern Regional Showcase in Conway last month, longtime Arkansas Wings
coach Ron Crawford sat down with ArkansasSports360.com for a discussion on all things basketball, and the conversation turned to what some of the European countries do as far as grooming athletes for the next level.
Ron Crawford, the organizer of the "Old School" AAU event in Conway, which will include several prominent players reportedly on Arkansas' wish list for 2011--Hunter Mickelson, Ky Madden and the already committed Aaron Ross on the Arkansas Wings
16-and-Under team--says the rule change could hurt the mid-major schools such as UALR and ASU.
Patterson, an AAU star for the Arkansas Wings
as well as part of a two-time state champ at Altheimer, was passed over by Arkansas in recruiting and opted for the SEC rival Rebels, who were then coached by Rod Barnes.
Ron Crawford, the founder of the Arkansas Wings
AAU program, knows all three players well and says that the rising sophomore class is one of the best this state has ever seen.
The tourney got its name from tourney director Ron Crawford, an AAU official and coach for 29 years in the Arkansas Wings
program, and some of his AAU colleagues who wanted to set up a classic regional alternative to the national, mega-tourney format in many locations.
"It means even more college coaches may be coming to Arkansas because all they have to do is get on the freeway [between Fayetteville and Conway] and see both tournaments," said Crawford, the founder of the Arkansas Wings AAU program and a national force in amateur basketball for many years.
Other teams competing in the 17-and-under Platinum Division are Arkansas Wings Gold, Arkansas Wings Red, Alabama Lasers, Charlotte Royals, St.
Crawford recently saw first hand the problems and perceptions that can come when an agent is involved with amateur athletes, and some criticism was directed at his AAU Arkansas Wings