GREENWOOD – Anton Beard, a Top247 prospect and the No. 1 player in Arkansas for 2014, said some words that would have had many a Razorback fan worked up – if he hadn’t had an “if” near the end of it.
Anton Beard scored 19 points Wednesday to help defending state champion Little Rock Parkview advance in the Class 6A tournament.
Beard was talking about recruiting after he helped Little Rock Parkview roll to an 87-28 win over Texarkana in the first round of the Class 6A state tournament Wednesday night at Greenwood High School. He was asked about the possibility of playing alongside 2013 elite big men Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley at Arkansas.
“It’ll be a great experience for us to go to Arkansas and hopefully win a championship – if I might go,” Beard said.
It was pointed out that if he hadn’t thrown in that “if,” he would’ve had Razorback fans excited. Beard, the former Missouri commit, started laughing. “Yeah, yeah,” he said with a big grin.
But it sounds like the Hogs are looking good to Beard, the No. 104 overall prospect, No. 23 point guard and a 247Composite four-star.
“I’m supposed to be visiting Arkansas soon,” said Beard, who decommitted from Missouri on Feb. 13. “I don’t know what date. I was supposed to go Saturday (for the Kentucky game), but the state (tournament) is here, so can’t go.
“I’m very interested in them. They’re one of the top schools I’m looking at right now, and I feel great about them.”
Beard (6-1, 170 pounds) has 10 scholarship offers, including Arkansas. Since decommitting from Missouri, he said UMass has offered. He also has Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, LSU, Memphis, Mississippi State, Missouri and Tennessee.
Beard said “right now, I don’t know what my decision will be” and that he’s “wide-open” in his recruiting.
“I’m probably going to cut it down after the AAU season,” Beard said.
But first things first. Beard has a state title to pursue.
The Patriots got off to a great start Wednesday in their rout of Texarkana. Beard scored 19 points, and Parkview got 23 points from three-star guard I.J. Ready, a Mississippi State signee. Parkview led 51-19 at halftime behind 19 points from Ready and nine from Beard.
“We came out with good intensity,” Berard said. “We knew going into the state that we had to come out with a big win the first game to get our confidence level up. We just came out with great intensity. We played like a team today.”
Next up is Siloam Springs on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Central. If all goes as expected, Parkview, the defending 6A state champion, will be taking on Little Rock Hall, the defending 7A state champion, in the semifinals on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Beard said the Patriots aren’t looking ahead to a showdown with Hall, whose top player is five-star forward Portis, an Arkansas signee. Hall beat Parkview 73-66 on Feb. 19 to win the 7A/6A Central conference title.
“You’ve got to take it one step at a time, each day,” Beard said. “You can’t just look ahead because you never want to take teams for granted. We’re just going to come out and play whenever we have to.”
After the high school season is over, Beard is planning to play with Team Thad out of Memphis. He’s going into the grassroots season with the goal of improving his game and just getting ready for college.
“Everything now is about business. It’s not about fun anymore,” Beard said. “So now it’s about improving your game after every game you play. You can’t just go in doing the same thing you’ve been doing.”
Although the things Beard has been doing have worked out pretty well for him so far.